In a quarterly earnings call with investors, Target (NYSE:TGT) CEO Brian Cornell applauded the end of the fourth quarter and a strong holiday, in which comparable sales increased 3.8 percent. Looking forward, he also laid out five priorities for 2015, one of which included a focus on localization.
Cornell began the call by calling attention to the primary drivers of the quarter's success, which can be attributed to an increase in traffic and growth of the company's digital channel by nearly a full percentage point in comparable sales.
He did acknowledge that 2014 was a year of transition: the company focused on recovering relationships with shoppers following the 2013 data breach and ultimately chose to close its Canadian stores.
"Fast-forward to today and we've ended the year with the data breach fully behind us and that we've made tough decision [sic] to execute the Canadian business," he said.
Cornell then touched on the company's top priorities for 2015.
The first priority is driving digital sales growth through Target's omnichannel experience.
The second priority is clearly defining roles for each of the merchandise categories and building out plans for them appropriately. As outlined earlier in 2014, Target is growing and focusing on some core categories such as style, baby, kids and wellness.
The third priority is to focus on building a localized assortment and experience, while implementing a more personalized digital interaction with guests. Cornell said Target was still in the very early stages of these efforts and that he sees a huge opportunity in the future.
The fourth priority is to build and test new formats. "We're seeing strong financial results from our eight City Target stores and we've seen very strong initial performance in the test of our first Target Express location, which opened here in the Twin Cities last August," said Cornell. In 2015, of the 15 new stores planning to open, half are new formats.
The final priority is to reduce complexity and control costs to fuel investments.
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