Target Fires 40 at Minneapolis HQ Merchandizing Division

Target shopping AP
AP Photo

Retail giant Target fired 40 employees at its Minneapolis headquarters in a major restructuring of its merchandising division on Friday.

The department store chain is still struggling to find its path back to profitability after four straight quarters of losses.

Reports say the company is looking to reinvent its merchandising division, with employees having more specialized knowledge of specific portions of their field as opposed to the generalized knowledge required by the former merchandising plan, the Star Tribune reported.

The new scheme is part of the restructuring headed by chief merchant Mark Tritton, who was hired last year from Nordstrom.

Target spokesperson Katie Boylan released a statement saying, “While these decisions are never easy, we believe this is the right decision to position Target for future success.”

The employees were informed a week ago that they were to lose their jobs. Along with the notices, Target unveiled new roles for the department and its new marketing plan.

“As part of Target’s ongoing transformation efforts, we’ve been working over the past year to modernize our merchandising organization,” Boylan added. “We’re introducing a new operating model within the merchandising team this summer that will enable enterprise buying, create shared accountability across partnering teams and advance our data and analytics capabilities — which ultimately will help Target to deliver faster for our guests.”

Target has been slowly downsizing at its Minneapolis HQ, with a loss of 2,000 jobs in 2015 and several rounds of smaller cuts at intervals since.

The latest attempt to restructure the company comes after a long series of troubling signs for the company.

In one case, a new survey of Target’s customers found that customer satisfaction had fallen 383 points to 66.7 percent.

The survey of 2,500 Target customers showed declines across the board, including customer service, merchandise selection, and overall quality.

The survey wasn’t the only bad news for the retailer. Several weeks earlier, the company cut the salary of CEO Brian Cornel due to the four quarters of loss, fired or released several top executives, shuttered several once high-profile projects meant to drive the company’s future, and other actions.

All the problems began after Target announced its transgender bathroom policy last year, telling customers and employees alike that men pretending to be women could use whatever bathroom or changing room they want to use at any given time.

The policy brought a boycott that garnered over a million signatures in less than two weeks.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at


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