Jan. 22--Target Corp. is laying off 475 employees at its corporate headquarters in downtown Minneapolis and not filling 700 open positions, the company said Wednesday.
Target employs about 12,000 people at its downtown headquarters on Nicollet Mall. It has approximately 360,000 employees at its 1,900 stores around the world.
The nation's No. 2 retailer experienced slower growth in sales and profits throughout 2013, then was hit in December with a data attack that exposed the financial and personal information of tens of millions of its customers. That breach hurt the company even more during the critical holiday shopping season.
A woman who was laid off from Target's finance department said half of her 12-person department was let go in a mandatory meeting Wednesday morning, and the other half will be laid off in the next month.
She said laid off workers will be replaced by workers in India and contractors. The layoffs, she said, have been in the works for more than six months.
"They just sent out a memo saying we had a mandatory meeting at such-and-such time saying that you guys are being let go as of today," said the woman, who asked not to be identified for fear that her severance could be affected.
Target experienced difficulties throughout 2013. Its profit for the first nine months of its current fiscal year, through Nov. 2, was 29 percent lower than a year earlier despite a 3 percent jump in sales.
Part of its difficulties stemmed from worse-than-expected returns on its expansion into Canada, where it opened more than 100 stores during 2013. Following the data breach, Target lowered its outlook for fourth-quarter comparable-store revenue to a drop of 2.5 percent, after previously saying it expected no change.
The new job-cutting action follows a decision in October to eliminate about 150 jobs in the Twin Cities in what was then described as a reorganization.
Separately, the retailer announced on Tuesday that it would be terminating its health coverage program for part-time employees. Less than 10 percent of the company's 361,000 workers participated in the program, the company said.
For the past month, Target has captured attention after revealing the data breach that is one of the largest ever to affect a U.S. corporation. Earlier this month, executives revealed that sales turned "meaningfully weaker" after the breach was disclosed on Dec. 19.
Come back to the Star Tribune for more updates on this developing story.
Adam Belz -- 612-673-4405 Twitter: @adambelz
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Distributed by MCT Information Services
Original headline: Target eliminates 475 jobs at Minneapolis headquarters
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