Target Traffic Slows After Devastating Data Breach

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Kantar Retail’s latest findings revealed news for Target (NYSE:TGT) this week that didn’t surprise consumers, investors, or even the company’s executives: Target traffic has dropped significantly since its large-scale data breach in December. USA Today reported on Kantar’s findings on Tuesday, saying that according to the consulting group, Target’s customer traffic in January, online and in stores, fell to its lowest point in three years. Thirty-three percent of U.S. households shopped at Target in January, while 43 percent visited the store in January 2013.

Those numbers showed significance losses for the now-struggling Minneapolis-based retailer, and Kantar said that the group of shoppers most to blame for the declines include Gen Xers, along with “fringe” shoppers who don’t shop very often, but when they do, it’s at Target. Kantar’s data showed that visits by lower-income customers who shop less frequently declined 30 percent, while Gen-X shoppers — ages 32 to 49 — declined to 38 percent from 53 percent last year.

Target’s holiday season data breach that resulted in the theft of about 40 million credit and debit card accounts, as well as 70 million other records with customer information, therefore affected the way consumers shopped at the beginning of 2014, and it is still playing a part in their shopping decisions three months after the fact. Though Target has vowed to restructure its security system in order to ensure no breach occurs again, many customers are still leery about shopping at the discount retailer, and some are more likely to visit Target’s many rivals, including Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN).

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