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Target Announces Changes To Stores; Suspends Returns Amid Coronavirus

target march26 lt

Target Corp. said it will reduce the number of new small format store openings as well as store remodel projects scheduled for 2020 due to the challenging environment resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

Providing an updated plan for its remodel program, the discount retailer said it now anticipates to complete about 130 remodels in 2020, down from the prior expectation of about 300. The retailer will complete all remodel projects currently underway and reschedule the remaining projects into 2021.

Target now expects to open only 15 to 20 new small-format stores in 2020, compared to the 36 that it previously announced. In addition, the company is temporarily stopping incorporating fresh grocery and adult beverages into its Drive Up and Order Pickup services.

Target also will stop accepting in-store product returns and exchanges for the next three weeks. For customers having a return that expires during that period, the company will honor them three weeks past the holding period.

In addition, Target is refraining from handling reusable bags and will ask guests who bring them in to bag their own items at checkout. The company said its paper and plastic bags will be available and it will waive any local fees during this time.

The discount store chain is also introducing new measures to keep its stores clean and promote social distancing. The company will have a team member stationed at store entrances to ensure carts are clean and available in an orderly fashion.

The retailer will add signs at the front of stores and floor decals at the checklanes to maintain safe distances between guests as they shop. The stores will rotate the use of its checklanes to enable deep-cleaning of those not in use.

Also on Wednesday, Target withdrew its financial outlook for the first quarter as well as fiscal 2020 and suspended share buybacks due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Among other retailers, Ross Stores said last week that it has withdrawn its first quarter and 2020 full year sales and earnings guidance due to impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and lower consumer demand. The company has also suspended its stock repurchase program.

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