By Michelle Graff
Minneapolis--Target Corp. confirmed Wednesday that it is letting 475 workers go, and news reports state it will leave another 700 open positions unfilled. 

“As an organization, Target continually assesses our operating model to ensure we are well-positioned to adapt to changing business needs,” the company said in a statement. “Today we informed our team that approximately 475 positions are being eliminated worldwide. We believe these decisions, while difficult, are the right actions as we continue to focus on transforming our business. We will continue to invest in key business areas to strengthen our ability to compete and thrive well into the future.”

While the retailer did not respond to specific questions from National Jeweler about the layoffs, a report published Wednesday by the Minneapolis Star Tribune said the vast majority of cuts were taking place at its Minneapolis headquarters.

Target has been making headlines lately due to the large-scale data breach that took place at its stores in the midst of the key holiday shopping season. Hackers obtained data on millions of shoppers who used credit and debit cards at Target stores nationwide between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. 

A retail analyst, however, told the Star Tribune that the layoffs weren’t the result of the data breach but instead were due to slow sales and a poor return on investment from its expansion into Canada. Target opened 124 stores in Canada last year, its first outside the U.S. market.

The news that Target is laying off 475 workers and leaving hundreds more positions unfilled comes on the heels of similar announcements from Macy’s Inc. and J.C. Penney Co. Inc.

Despite having a “successful” holiday season, Macy’s said in early January that it was laying off 2,500 workers as it trims central office, administrative and back-of-the-house expenses, though the retailer is adding jobs in other areas, such as online operations. 

J.C. Penney, which has struggled in the wake of a failed makeover at the hands of its former CEO, followed with an announcement last week that it was cutting 2,000 from its workforce and closing 33 stores nationwide.

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