Target customer visits decline sharply in the wake of breach

Fewer shoppers are visiting Target (NYSE:TGT) stores as the company still attempts to recover from its massive data breach in December. For the month of January, traffic at Target hit its lowest point in three years.

A study from Kantar Retail found that only 33 percent of U.S. households shopped at Target in January compared to 43 percent for the same period a year prior. Shoppers ages 32 to 49 declined to 38 percent, down from 53 percent last year. Visits by lower-income customers who shop less frequently declined by 30 percent.

The company also suffered financially from the ordeal, as indicated in its most recent earnings report on Feb. 26. The results revealed a steep decline in fourth-quarter sales as shoppers avoided Target for fear of having their data stolen during the critical year-end holiday shopping season. Overall, Target said profit plummeted 46 percent to $520 million, from $961 million a year ago.

While a drop in traffic after the busy holiday season is normal across the retail industry, Target's decline was particularly dramatic according to the Kantar Retail results.

Target's decline comes as the company continues its turnaround efforts following the data hack. Target's CIO Beth Jacob resigned March 5 and the company has embarked on a more thorough overhaul of its security and IT departments.

For more:
-See this USA Today article

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