Target CEO on Data Breach: ‘This Is an Industry Issue’

Also, we get a pretty honest answer about why stores open on Thanksgiving.

In a smart move, Target‘s CEO made an appearance today on The CBS Early Show to talk about all things leading into Black Friday.

With regards to the data breach, Brian Cornell framed the ongoing issue as one that the whole industry has to deal with, reassuring Gayle King that they’re doing all they can daily to protect customers’ privacy.

The company is finally starting to see some turnaround after a few quarters where the brand was badly damaged by the breach. Profits were up more than three percent in the third quarter to $352 million.

The other big issue he addressed were the Thanksgiving store openings. Every year, people kick up a fuss. Every year, the stores open on Thanksgiving Day. Every year the explanation is that despite the outrage, there are a lot of shoppers who want to be in the stores on Turkey Day.

Cornell’s response to that is interesting.

He equates the day to a football game saying that Thanksgiving is the start of the playoffs, and they have to get a good start to the holiday season. Target is a business, they’re in it to make money. It faces stiff competition. To get out on the other side of the holidays on top, they need to open the doors on a holiday.

That level of honesty is kind of refreshing though just as unsettling. Thanksgiving is about family and enjoying some good food and the joyful experience of spending time catching up. The commercialization of the holiday is what people have a problem with. Also, this.

But by saying that on camera, at least we’re getting a straight answer and insight into the strategy that goes into the decision to open on that day. With more people shopping online, we might see a shift in that strategy in the years to come (especially if there’s free shipping involved).

But that’s also another reason why this appearance was a good idea. A morning show visit is a nice way to get some attention when people are thinking about their Black Friday shopping.