MINNESOTA (Pioneer Press) – Target said Wednesday it will clean checkout lanes after each sale, add signs and floor decals to ensure shoppers are maintaining social distancing and expand its dedicated shopping hours for elderly shoppers and those with underlying health concerns.
Target announced the safety measures to try and combat the spread of coronvirus while at the same time reporting the company is “experiencing unusually strong traffic and sales” in its stores and with its same-day pick-up and delivery services.
March company sales are up more than 20 percent from last year, buoyed by the food and beverage categories and essentials such as cleaning supplies and baby products.
While sales of apparel and accessories have slowed down in recent days, CEO Brian Cornell said, “we know guests’ needs could change quickly as things evolve, so our teams are carefully monitoring the situation, ready to be flexible and adjust.”
Among the safety changes:
- For the foreseeable future, stores will rotate the use of check-out lanes to allow those not being used to be deep-cleaned.
- A worker will be stationed at store entrances to ensure carts are clean.
- Stores will not be accepting in-store product returns and exchanges for the next three weeks. Returns that expire during that period will be honored past the holding period.
- Sales of reusable bags will stop, and guests who bring them in will be asked to bag their items at checkout, instead of the cashier.
- Any local fees on paper and plastic bags will be waived.
- Starting next week, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings will be reserved for elderly shoppers and those with underlying health concerns. CVS Pharmacy will also open early to accommodate those shoppers.
Cornell said Target is adjusting the expected timing of some of its strategic initiatives in an effort to support workers and minimize potential disruptions to consumers.
Updated plans for Target’s remodel program anticipate approximately 130 remodels this year, down from the previous expectation of 300. The reduction will allow remodel projects already underway to be completed, and move all other remodel projects into 2021.
Similarly, the company now expects to open 15 to 20 new small format stores in 2020, rather than the 36 previously announced.
In addition, the effort to incorporate fresh grocery and adult beverages into the company’s drive-up and order pickup services is temporarily on hold.
“We are prioritizing the work that’s in front of us to support our team, store operations and supply chain as families across the country rely on Target for everything they need in this challenging environment.” Cornell said.