Target’s $7 Billion Bet: 2 Years Later

Today’s Star Tribune does a nice job updating a story I wrote about a year and a half ago regarding  Target CEO Brian Cornell’s aggressive plan to invest $7 billion in the company. I’m mentioning it in case you’d like more in-depth information and perspective on the risks and efforts that were involved in what is looking like a successful turnaround.

Back then I came away from interviews with Cornell and others reasonably optimistic, primarily because Target did something most other retailers had/have not: it created from scratch 12 higher-quality brands. Most retailers sell mostly or only brands made by others.

Today’s story indicates all of the hard work taking place inside Target during the last few years appears to be paying off, while raising the question, will this momentum continue?

One side note: Target’s recent success also is due to the updating/improving of its board of directors under the leadership of Ecolab Chairman and CEO Doug Baker Jr., who served as the Target board’s lead independent director at that time. Before this, Target’s board was relatively weak, and it showed in terms of what happened with the company prior to Cornell’s joining it.) As we’ve seen elsewhere, an organization’s ability to continue positive momentum requires a good board of directors. So here’s hoping.