Dayton wants to discuss layoffs with Target CEO ASAP

REUTERS/Fred Thornhill

Make that “real soon.” The AP says, “Gov. Mark Dayton said Wednesday he is seeking a meeting soon with Target Corp.’s chief executive about the significant layoff affecting employees at the company’s Minnesota headquarters. Dayton told reporters that he did not get advance warning of the restructuring that Target executives shared with investors on Tuesday. He said he and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith want to hear directly from CEO Brian Cornell about the discount retailer’s commitment to the state and how it will conduct the downsizing at Minnesota’s largest for-profit employer.”

In the Strib, Patrick Condon says, “Dayton’s father and uncles built the Minneapolis department store company, Dayton’s, into Target. He reminded that his family’s ties to the company ‘have long since been severed,’ but suggested its status as Minnesota’s largest private for-profit employer gives him an ongoing stake in its decisions. ‘I think this could have and should have been handled differently, but that’s just my view,’ Dayton said. Of Cornell he said: ‘He’s relatively new here and it’s a very, very important company to Minnesota.’”

In the PiPress, Tom Webb says, “Target jolted the Twin Cities on Tuesday when it said ‘several thousand’ corporate staffers will be dismissed in a cost-cutting move. Executives didn’t say who, when or where — although the buzz is that the ax will swing freely next week. Since the news broke, reaction to Target’s $2 billion cost-savings plan has been split, especially by street. On Wall Street, analysts mostly liked the plan. Target stock touched an all-time high Wednesday morning before slipping lower, after a flurry of analysts raised price targets.”

The Strib editorializes sympathetically, saying, “Those employees who lose out in the cost-cutting will be looking for work in a regional economy that is among the strongest in the nation, but even temporary job loss takes an unfortunate toll. That’s not to say the cuts weren’t necessary. From all accounts, the country’s fourth-largest retailer had become siloed and stagnant. Cornell, now in his seventh month on the job, showed that a new era was at hand in January when he took the company’s failed experiment in Canada off life support. More cuts were expected, although not necessarily to the extent announced Tuesday.”

As for that new Hispanic-focus, Mark Miller at brandchannel.com says, “With the hashtag #SinTraducción, its new ‘ads focus on Spanish words with no English equivalent,’ Mediapost reports. As Rick Gomez, SVP of brand and category marketing, tells Ad Age, ‘The Hispanic guest loves Target but we’re always looking to connect on a deeper level. ‘Sin Traducción’ does exactly that. It’s a way for Target to make a connection with our Hispanic guest on a deeper, more emotional level.’ While the company has long invested in Hispanic media, its first dedicated campaign represents ‘a sweeping celebration of moments, traditions and emotions that are treasured by many in the Hispanic culture.’”

Speaking of separations, Abby Simons of the Strib reports, “A measure that would offer couples the option to divorce outside the authority of Minnesota courts has the backing of two legislators who say they want to start a conversation about how marriages end. But family law attorneys argue that the legislation is impractical — and unconstitutional.” That would seriously gore their ox, wouldn’t it?

Oh, great. An MPR story says, “No lakes and only a few streams in Minnesota’s southwest corner meet the state’s quality standards for fishing and swimming. That bleak assessment comes from a recently released Minnesota Pollution Control Agency study that blames high levels of bacteria, nitrates and sediment in the water. The agency examined lakes and streams across the four watersheds in southwest Minnesota that are part of the Missouri River Basin. It looked at 93 of 181 streams and found only three that fully supported aquatic life and recreation.”

Facebook kills. Liz Sawyer of the Strib reports, “A western Wisconsin woman was chatting on social media while driving during a car crash near Prescott, Wis., that killed three young children in December 2013, police said. Kari J. Milberg, 34, faces three counts of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle and one count of reckless driving after police say she was active on Facebook while behind the wheel. Cellphone records show that Milberg was sending and receiving Facebook messages until two minutes before the crash, said Pierce County investigators. … Two cellphones were found in the totaled vehicle, but a third was recovered at the scene after the snow melted nearly four months later. Records showed that the undamaged iPhone, which belonged to Milberg, had a Facebook chat session in progress from 3:32 p.m. to 3:39 p.m. — just two minutes before the crash.” No “likes” for her.

City Pages’ Cory Zurowski sinks his teeth into the latest Scott Walker declaration. “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker certainly has his own ideas about liberty looks like. His latest version of freedom has to do with his state’s pesky 40-year-old law that requires a two-day waiting period for handgun purchases. Walker wants to kill it. … Walker, who’s trying to turn Wisconsin into North Mississippi — the state seal will depict a cheesehead drooling on his shirt — is willing to risk a few more school massacres or dead wives if it means quicker access to shooting people. ‘We’ve been the leader when it comes to freedom over the last four years. I think we want to be a leader in this area as well,’ he told the National Rifle Association’s news network, citing Wisconsinites’ liberalized rights to carry concealed weapons and blast intruders.”

Today in AP. The football player, not the news service. Ben Goessling at ESPN on yesterday’s big meet-up with Vikings brass. “Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman spent more than four hours at Adrian Peterson’s home outside Houston on Wednesday afternoon, meeting with the 2012 NFL MVP to discuss his feelings about returning to the Vikings next season. When contacted by ESPN shortly after the meeting, Peterson said it went well but added that he wished to keep the details private. … Minnesota can officially trade Peterson once the new league year starts Tuesday.” Getting … bored … with … this … story.

Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/05/2015 - 08:31 am.

    Target’s plan

    Based on what I’ve read of Target’s plan, they’ve decided that can’t compete with Walmart so they’re going to stop trying. Instead, their new primary competitor will be Amazon. That means beefing up their online presence and capabilities which requires fewer brick and mortar-related jobs and more digital jobs, which will probably be farmed out.

    The Twin Cities retail players like Target and Best Buy (I’ve done work for both) remind me of the old Twin Cities computer manufacturers of the 70s and 80s (I did work for most) who steadfastly maintained their allegiance to mainframes and large, centralized architectures while their competitors were rolling out decentralized personal computers. CDC’s Bill Norris once remarked in a meeting that personal computers were a fad.

    Amazon is the new model for major retailing and a ban on delivery drones notwithstanding, remote shopping is not a fad.

  2. Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 03/05/2015 - 10:18 am.

    Retired now

    but before retiring I wrote resumes for over 7,000 people, at least half of whom were Minnesotans. I helped people get hired by Target but never heard back from them and have no knowledge of their corporate operations.

    But over the years I was confronted with three mass layoffs that speak to the situation at Target. One was an IT company that is legendary for having laid off an entire floor of VPs, with no discernable impact on the business.

    Another was a communications company that after Ma Bell was broken up, discovered they had literally hundreds of unneeded senior managers who had existed solely to drive up costs because their profit was based on a fixed percentage over costs (the more cost, the more profit).

    Target doesn’t sound like either of these scenarios. The third mass layoff was a financial company experiencing solvency issues. I did a lot of resumes for their laid off workers who, to a remarkable degree, could not tell me what they did. Incredibly, they were all from the same part of the metro area, and it became apparent they were all cronyistic hires. Jobs had been created so that friends could have jobs.

    I would think an aggressive and knowledgeable business reporter could find out what’s really going on at Target. This isn’t just happening, it’s happening for reasons that investors would probably like to know more about. What’s the real story? Because I’m guessing Target’s press releases are somewhat incomplete.

  3. Submitted by Nate Dungan on 03/05/2015 - 01:16 pm.

    Target is off-target

    How about using some of Gregg Steinhafel’s $62M severance package to cover those 2500 lost jobs? #workerslivesmatter

    • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 03/05/2015 - 05:22 pm.

      That is the pure disgrace of this

      Layoff by Target. CEOs – millions; the workers – scraps. Since Target wants to be like Amazon (with its new distribution center here), it will probably be necessary to check both out

  4. Submitted by Nate Dungan on 03/05/2015 - 01:52 pm.

    Target layoffs

    The governor should point out the obvious: Steinhafel got rewarded with $62M in severance for misleading the company into ruin, and 2500 workers lost their jobs. #workerslivesmatter

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