Dayton: Target CEO found it 'very difficult' to see images of laid off staff

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The fallout from Target's decision to layoff 1,700 Twin Cities workers continues, with Gov. Mark Dayton commenting for the first time on the cuts.

Speaking to the Pioneer Press, Dayton said Target CEO Brian Cornell told him he "regrets the very, very tough decisions," and added that it was "very difficult to look at pictures of good employees who are walking out with their belongings and supplies."

The revelation will provide little solace to the hundreds of people suddenly out of work, after the axe fell on departments on Tuesday, as part of the retail giant's restructuring plan designed to save $2 billion over two years.

Workers arrived at headquarters to be greeted by the sight of flat-pack cardboard boxes for their personal effects, and notifications of morning meetings on their internal calendars, at which they were told they were being released.

The Pioneer Press reports all but a handful of the 1,700 job losses came from Target's Twin Cities offices, with just 21 jobs being lost outside of Minnesota.

According to the Star Tribune, Target is pushing on with its restructure that will involve many of its remaining corporate workers assigned to one of seven "centers of excellence."

The newspaper says that details of the plan are sketchy at this stage, but the idea is that these centers will help the company "streamline and centralize" work and allow people to work directly with those from other departments, as it seeks to become a more efficient enterprise.

Question over subsidies

WCCO suggests that the mass layoffs seen in the metro area has raised questions over the taxpayer subsidies the company has received in recent years.

It notes the downtown Minneapolis store and associated infrastructure was built with a public subsidy of $60 million (paid back in 2012), while the company has been pledged up to $22 million in tax breaks for its headquarters in Brooklyn Park.

Denise Butler, of Northwest Community Action, told the TV station that they had received no information about how many of the 3,000 workers in Brooklyn Park, and added: "We are worried that our tax dollars are going to continue to go to Target and no any actual benefits will be received."

Meanwhile, CBC News reports that the first 16 of 133 Target stores in Canada will close next week, following the retailer's withdrawal from the country was announced in January.

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