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Today In Retail: Target Sees Resilient Customers; Data Shows Consumers Expect The Pandemic To Stretch Into 2022

In today’s top retail news, Target posted strong second-quarter results on the back of increased traffic at its retail locations, while PYMNTS data shows consumers are continuing to postpone when they expect the pandemic to end. Also, retail businesses may not be utilizing their workforce adequately, and retailers are sitting on a goldmine of consumer preference data — if only they knew how to use it.

Target CEO Sees ‘Tremendous Resilience’ In Consumers Amid Renewed COVID Concerns

Increased traffic at Target’s retail locations in the second quarter drove the company to strong year-over-year sales growth, giving the Minnesota-based retailer confidence that it’s on the right track as investments in its operations continue unabated. Officially, Target’s comp sales grew nearly 9 percent in the three months ended July 31, reflecting comparable store sales growth of 8.7 percent and comparable digital sales growth of 10 percent.

Pandemic Will Linger Into 2022, Say Consumers, Before We’re ‘Back to Normal’

PYMNTS’ surveys of hundreds of consumers through the past several months show the assumed timeframes of when the pandemic will end — and by extension, when life will return to “normal” — keep shifting. In the spring of 2020, individuals expected the pandemic to peter out by summer of that year. Fast forward to the latest readings, though, and the anticipated “end” date stretches well into the winter as 2021 ends, and into the early months of 2022.

Half Of Retail Employee Hours Scheduled When No Sales Are Made

Running a business that has 50 percent inefficiency baked into the single-largest cost center — labor — would likely be unacceptable for most companies. And yet, for many of the nation’s retailers, that untenable scenario is not an academic case study or a doomsday scenario — it’s their day-to-day reality as managers utilize outdated systems that can’t account for the data that retailers have available.

ACI Says Retailers Sitting On ‘Goldmine Of Data’ About Consumer Preferences

With nearly every merchant and brand trying to find their way in an evolving world, retailers are looking for better insights into customer behavior and worrying that the competitor across the street has a better handle on it, said ACI Worldwide Head of Omnichannel Retail John Gessau. ACI has found that as consumers move between different interaction points, they want a recognizable experience no matter the channel they’re shopping in.

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