Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and CEO of Target, has issued a video apology for the data breach that has impacted some 40 million of its customers, and resulted in several lawsuits, according to reports.
“We understand that a situation like this creates stress and anxiety about the safety of your payment card data at Target,” Steinhafel said in a letter posted on the company’s website. “Our brand has been built on a 50-year foundation of trust with our guests, and we want to assure you that the cause of this issue has been addressed and you can shop with confidence at Target.”
Steinhafel said Target would offer free credit monitoring services for those debit and credit card users impacted. Affected customers will not be responsible for any fraudulent charges—either a customer’s bank or Target will have the responsibility, he said.
The unauthorized access took place in U.S. Target stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. Canadian stores and target.com were not affected.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the data breach caused the Minneapolis-based retailer to lose traffic during one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year, despite Target’s 10 percent discount offer—the same amount its employees receive—to shoppers in U.S. stores on Dec. 21 and 22.
The number of transactions at Target over the weekend fell 3 to 4 percent compared with last year’s final weekend before Christmas, the paper said.
Of the 24 retailers surveyed only three retained 70 percent or more of their customer base, with Walmart topping the list at 88.1 percent followed closely by Dollar Tree at 80.4 percent and Target at 72.1 percent. The bottom five retailers on this year’s “losers” list are Barnes & Noble (43.9 percent), Costco (49.4 percent), Marshalls (50 percent), Toys R Us (53.1 percent) and Lowe’s (56 percent).
“The key to retailing success is retaining at least 70 percent or more customer base,” said Britt Beemer, chairman and CEO of America’s Research Group. “The research shows that most retailers did a lousy job of keeping their customers home this year. In fact, only two, Walmart and Dollar Tree, did an exceptional job this season.
“In previous years, we’ve seen seven or more retailers do well. If you’re losing 50 percent of your customers, you’re in grave trouble and your long-term future is doubtful,” added Beemer. “Two-thirds of retailers got failing grades this year and had better seriously review their merchandising and advertising strategies if they want to stay in the game.”
1. Walmart, 88.1 percent
2. Dollar Tree, 80.4 percent
3. Target, 72.1 percent
4. Walgreens, 69.3 percent
5. Macy’s, 68.2 percent
1. Lowe’s, 56.0 percent
2. Toys R Us, 53.1 percent
3. Marshalls, 50.0 percent
4. Costco, 49.4 percent
5. Barnes & Noble, 43.9 percent