Target, MLB Swing For Education Causes

Target, still feverishly trying to shore up its brand reputation after a massive data breach, says it’s partnering with MLB in an effort fronted by New York Yankee Carlos Beltran and Los Angeles Dodger Adrian Gonzalez.

The two players will act as advocates for the retailer’s education initiatives, including the Target Presents “PEOPLE All-Star Teachers” program, which is scheduled to run through the first half of the season. Beltran and Gonzalez, along with former MLB players, will “help get students and fans excited as well as share stories about teachers that have impacted them and education’s important role in shaping their lives,” the company says in its release. 



People can go to and submit nominations through May 6. Thirty “All-Star” teachers, with one representing each MLB team, are scheduled to be honored on field before the July 15 All-Star Game.

The effort is part of the Minneapolis-based retailer’s previously announced effort to donate $1 billion to education by 2015.

Separately, Kantar Retail released a report showing that the data-theft brouhaha last December didn’t just affect the stores fourth-quarter sales, but its post-holiday penetration as well. According to its latest Kantar Retail ShopperScape data, 33% of U.S. households say they shopped at Target or SuperTarget during January, the lowest penetration number for Target in the past three years. That represents a 22% decrease from the previous January. 

The report says the trend was most pronounced among its core Gen X shoppers, between 32 and 49, as well as lower-income shoppers, who are generally less likely to shop there, but whose penetration at Target dropped 30% from January 2013 to January 2014. “Target is at a critical inflection point, as it strategizes how to win back the confidence of shoppers,” notes Amy Koo, Kantar Retail senior analyst, in the report. 

“While the breach caused an immediate blow to sales and will affect traffic for some time to come, it also exposed the larger longstanding issue of Target’s fragile relationship with its less-engaged guests,” she adds. “While monthly guests demonstrated their commitment to Target since the breach, the same is not true for the less-engaged.”

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