Last week's news of a massive security breach at Target (NYSE: TGT) may have driven shoppers elsewhere to finish up their last-minute holiday shopping.
The number of transactions at Target slipped 3 percent to 4 percent compared with the final weekend before Christmas last year, according to data collected by retail consultancy Customer Growth Partners LLC.
After the breach was exposed last week, Target tried to lure customers back in stores by offering shoppers 10 percent off their entire purchases in stores Saturday and Sunday. The retailer also said it would offer free credit monitoring to those affected by the hack and assured its customers that they will have zero liability for unauthorized charges.
In order to further protect customers, J.P. Morgan Chase, the nation's largest bank, temporarily placed limits on those customers potentially impacted by the hacking. At least 2 million shoppers who used Chase debit cards at Target stores could only use their cards for no more than $100 in cash withdrawals and $300 in total purchases per day.
In the wake of the data breach, at least five lawsuits seeking millions in damages have been filed against Target. Published reports indicate two suits have been filed in California and two in Minnesota. CBS News confirmed that a suit has been filed in Oregon. At least some were seeking class-action status, and at least one was seeking millions in damages.
Despite Target's efforts to protect customers, a post on the security blog that first reported the breach claims many of those stolen cards "have been flooding underground black markets in recent weeks, selling in batches of one million cards and going for anywhere from $20 to more than $100 per card."
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