Target shoppers undeterred by data breach; welcome 10 percent discount

  • Article by: KELLY SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 22, 2013 - 9:41 AM

On one of the busiest weekends of the holiday season, Target held on to many loyal customers who flocked to its Twin Cities stores.

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Target employee Wyatt Buchanan helped put a new television in the car of Denise Dian, of Roseville, at Target in Roseville on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013. Dian decided to do more shopping with the 10% discount. "I always buy on sale. I would have bought that item maybe next week maybe four weeks from now, two months from now instead i bought it today, " she said.

Photo: Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

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Holiday shoppers were in forgiving spirits Saturday as they packed Twin Cities Target stores, largely undeterred by the company’s giant data breach and praising a 10 percent discount the company offered to appease customers.

“It seems like they’re handling it well,” said Kymm Pollack of Minneapolis as she and her daughter stocked up on holiday gifts and supplies at the Target in St. Louis Park.

On the last Saturday before Christmas, that kind of goodwill was a holiday blessing for Minneapolis-based Target Corp., after the data theft was revealed Wednesday.

Since then, the nation’s No. 2 retailer was blasted by irritated customers on social media for the lack of information or response to concerns, and threatened with lawsuits after hackers got 40 million customers’ credit or debit card information — one of the largest known U.S. data breaches. The breach, which is under investigation by the Secret Service and Target’s own technical staff, affected customers who shopped at Target from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15.

But on Saturday, it looked like business as usual at local stores, with one west metro Target scrambling to restock an empty line of shopping carts in the afternoon. Many customers said they wouldn’t alter their shopping habits and even spent more at Target because of the discount.

“That’s a nice bonus,” Pollack said after buying items she had been holding off on, such as an iPad keyboard thanks to the $30 she said she saved from the discount.

The discount will be available at stores across the country through Sunday. Target re­iterated Saturday that cardholders won’t be held financially responsible for fraud in their accounts.

The estimated 2 million JPMorgan Chase & Co. customers who used debit cards at Target stores during the recent security breach, however, will be limited in their use of their cards, the bank said Saturday. According to Reuters, the bank will limit card use to cash withdrawals of $100 a day and purchases totaling $300 a day as a precaution.

‘If it happens, it happens’

Target’s customer call centers continued to be overwhelmed Saturday, spokeswoman Katie Boylan said, as they dealt with unprecedented, “extraordinary high call volume” related to the breach.

And while she couldn’t say Saturday if stores were impacted negatively by the data breach or positively by the discount, she said that, anecdotally, “we’ve seen a really positive response” to the promotion.

CEO Gregg Steinhafel announced the discount Friday. He also apologized, saying in a statement that “we recognize this issue has been confusing and disruptive during an already busy holiday season.” The company also is offering one year of free credit monitoring to those whose credit or debit card information was exposed.

“I probably should be more concerned than I am. But I trust Target,” said Pollack, who shopped during the time of the data breach with her Target REDcard, which always gives shoppers 5 percent off their purchases. She has not been notified of any unusual charges made using the card.

Added Andrew Holmes, another St. Louis Park customer: “It’s just the way it goes [with credit cards]. If it happens, it happens.”

Frequent shoppers

At Roseville’s Target store, Kiki Koralesky had shopped at Target on Friday, but after hearing about the discount, she returned again Saturday to buy wrapping paper and gifts such as stocking stuffers and slippers.

“I’ve been here too many times … probably for the 20th time this week,” she said.

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