When Target opens their stores at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving for Black Friday shopping, it's game time.
"It's the start of the season and we have to win that big playoff game, and it starts this weekend," Target CEO Brian Cornell said Wednesday on "CBS This Morning."
Many employees will be taking time away from family to take one for the team.
"We know that as we look at the holiday season, the consumer, the shopper, our guest, wants to be out there. So as we looked at our strategy, we started with, what is the consumer looking for? And they told us they actually like to shop at the end of the day. Some of them actually don't like to get up real early on Black Friday morning," Cornell said. "So we looked at what the consumer was asking for, we looked at the competition, but we also considered our employees, our team, we wanted them to have an enjoyable day with their families."
Cornell will also be working, donning a red shirt.
"I will be in stores actually right here in New York and New Jersey," he said.
Nearly a year ago, Target learned of a massive data breach where 40 million credit and debit card numbers were stolen from its system. Yet Target's third quarter earnings show signs of recovery. Profits rose more than 3 percent to $352 million.
Cornell, who became CEO in August, is hoping to keep the momentum going by assuring customers that Target is "totally focused" on customer data security.
"We've got a great team in place, we've built great systems, and we focus every day, every single day, not just during the holidays, but 52 weeks a year, on data security. Making sure we've the right team in place, to monitor, detect, contain," Cornell said. "All the bad guys, we know they're out there."
Cornell said this is an industry-wide issue, however.
"We work closely with government officials," he said. "We're out there to make sure we monitor and we have the best systems possible to protect data. But everyone in this industry right now has to come together to make sure we're putting the right defense plans in place."
Competition this holiday season will be stiff, with retailers like Wal-Mart and Amazon also rolling out their holiday sales early, and Target is trying to offer additional perks for their customers.
"This year we made the big decision to offer free shipping, because we knew that was the biggest pain point for online shoppers," Cornell said. "So we're shipping free during the holiday season, but we want to make sure we offer a great in-store shopping experience."
Cornell called it a "great investment." Throughout the year, Target has free shipping for purchases over $50 and Target card holders.
According to Cornell, 136 Target stores will also handle shipping this holiday season, as the stores are turned into flexible distribution centers.