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Target national meeting: part strategy, part pep talk, part concert

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A sea of red and khaki descended on Target Center in downtown Minneapolis Wednesday for Target Corp.'s annual fall meeting, which was attended by some 13,000 executives and store managers from around the country.

It was partly a business strategy session and partly a pep rally, to get employees fired up for the all-important holiday shopping season.

CEO Brian Cornell and other top leaders unveiled a series of new initiatives aimed at helping shore up the Minneapolis-based retailer's performance, which has lagged in recent years, KSTP reports.

Target is still feeling the effects of the massive 2013 data breach. It also recently closed its Canada operations and eliminated thousands of jobs at its Minneapolis headquarters to reduce costs.

But Cornell was upbeat in his message Wednesday, saying he believes Target is "turning the corner" and noted its stock price is up 32 percent in the past year, according to WCCO.

Target execs revealed a number of new priorities and new ventures over the course of the week-long meetings. Some of the most notable:

  • It's giving all 365,000 employees a Fitbit fitness tracker, as well as discounts on activewear, produce and it's Simply Balanced food line. It also will remove junk food from displays at checkout lines in a small number of stores as a test. (Read more from MPR News)
  • Target plans to hire up to 1,000 engineers in the U.S. and India in the next year or so. (Read more from the Star Tribune)
  • Target is partnering with Techstars to launch a retail technology "accelerator" next year. (Read more from Target Corp.)
  •  Target will test its top 50 innovations at 25 stores in the Los Angeles area beginning later this year. Ideas include electronic merchandise tags, advisers in the baby department and personal help in fitting rooms. (Read more from the Associated Press)
  • It's investing in technology basics like cash registers, handheld scanners, distribution systems and online shopping - giving more attention to fundamentals. (Read more from the Star Tribune)

But the meeting had its share of entertainment as well, as the attendees were treated to performances by Luke Bryan, Shakira, Imagine Dragons and Florida Georgia Line – all of whom have partnerships with Target.

Although photography was not allowed inside the meeting, one Target employee sent us a couple of photos.

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