Target Corp.’s transformation once again took a toll on its Minneapolis headquarters, where about 140 employees were let go Wednesday.
Most, but not all, of those laid off in this latest round of job cuts were in the recently formed “business performance optimization” group, which works on large-scale projects within the company’s core strategic areas. It is one of seven “centers of excellence” that the retailer has been forming in recent months as part of a new corporate structure.
The eliminated positions were in places “we identified redundancies or opportunities for greater efficiencies,” Molly Snyder, a Target spokeswoman, wrote in an e-mail.
In addition, Target closed 50 open positions. The company said the employees received severance and benefit packages that were comparable to those offered in other layoff actions this year.
After these latest cuts, Target has laid off about 2,500 workers this year, or about a fifth of the people at its downtown headquarters on Nicollet Mall as well as other campuses across the Twin Cities. It now has about 11,000 headquarters employees.
The downsizing comes as Chief Executive Brian Cornell has been working to revive the retailer which, while still profitable, has struggled in recent years amid fierce competition from online retailers and a slowness to evolve its own business.
In addition to refocusing on its core business and jettisoning side projects, Cornell has sought to cut layers of bureaucracy to help the retailer move faster.
The job-cutting locally began in February with 550 headquarters employees related to the company’s closure of its 133 Canadian stores. In Canada, more than 17,000 jobs were lost from the closings.
In early March, Target executives told investment analysts that they planned to eliminate “several thousand” corporate positions over the next two years. A week later, 1,700 employees were let go in one day. Following that move, about 100 administrative assistants were laid off last month.
Earlier this month, Target also laid off about 180 employees at its tech operations in India where about 2,600 people now work.
As with the previous rounds of layoffs, Target officials remained vague on Wednesday as to how many more jobs may be cut.
“Like all healthy, well-managed companies, we will continue to assess the business and make decisions about the work we do, and how we do it, to deliver sustainable, long-term growth,” Snyder said.
But one area likely to be on the chopping block down the road is corporate jobs related to its pharmacy and health clinics division. On Monday, Target announced a $1.9 billion deal to sell that part of its business to CVS. While the pharmacists who work at those in-store locations are expected to keep their jobs, those who work at headquarters in that department could be vulnerable.
One of the ways Cornell has been trying to change the way Target’s headquarters does its work is by organizing seven “centers of excellence” that cross traditional business functions.
In addition to business performance optimization, the other centers are data analytics, customer experience, pricing and promotions, indirect sourcing and procurement, business development and integration, and enterprise items.