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Target Corp. Lays Off Nearly 500 Workers

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Target Corporation announced Wednesday that the company is eliminating about 475 positions and will not be filling 700 open positions.

It's not yet clear how many positions will be eliminated in Minnesota, but Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder says the layoffs are "worldwide" and that the number of employees in Minnesota is a very small fraction of people they employ across the globe.

All employees with eliminated positions were notified Wednesday morning.

"As an organization, Target continually assesses our operating model to ensure we are well-positioned to adapt to changing business needs. Today we informed our team that approximately 475 positions are being eliminated worldwide," the statement reads. "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."

It was also reported recently that Target would be terminating health coverage for its part-time employees, instead offering them $500 toward purchasing their own plans through online marketplaces. This change would take effect on April 1.

The company said a historically low number of employees, less than 10 percent, were enrolled in the part-time insurance plan. Executives also say health care reform is providing new options that their employees may prefer.

The news of layoffs comes after more than a month's worth of bad press over a data breach that Target initially said affected 40 million credit card accounts but more recently admitted involved the theft of 110 million customers' credit card or personal data.

The personal information hackers stole includes names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.

Synder, however, says the layoffs are "absolutely not a response to or in any way related to the recent data breach."

Target's stock was down last week, and the retailer announced last week that fourth quarter sales, which included the big holiday shopping season, were down two percent.

As consumers continue to absorb the news that the data breach affected far more people than the chain originally announced, the company offered a year of free credit monitoring to customers.

More than three weeks after the first news of the breach, CEO Greg Steinhafel sat down with a reporter on CNBC last week.

"We are not going to rest until we understand what happened and how that happened," Steinhafel said. "Clearly, we're accountable and we're responsible, but we're going to come out at the end of this a better company."

As for the affected employees, they will be on payroll for 45 days and will also get severance based on years of service.

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