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What data breach? New poll finds customers forgive Target

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A new national poll suggests that many Target customers have put the problems related to the retailer's data breach behind them.

Bloomberg's national poll found that a mere 7 percent of shoppers plan to reduce spending at the Minneapolis-based chain over the next year. Despite the bad press and scrutiny that emerged at Target during the massive data breach around the holidays, 85 percent of what Target terms its "guests" expect to shop at Target about the same amount. Seven percent of those polled indicate will shop more, and 7 percent will shop less. One percent offered no opinion.

The Bloomberg National Poll, which surveyed 1,020, was conducted May 8-11. A Star Tribune Minnesota Poll which surveyed Minnesotans in February found that 82 percent visited Target as often as they did before the data theft. But 11 percent said they were upset enough that they would shop less at Target; another 5 percent said they won’t be go back at all. The Star Tribune interviewed 800 Minnesotans Feb. 10-12.

The Bloomberg survey also found that the public doesn't make shopping decisions based on who is sitting in a corporate corner office. The exit of Target's longtime President and CEO Gregg Steinhafel earlier this month made no difference for 84 percent in the survey, with 8 percent saying they would likely make more purchases at Target after the switch and 7 percent reporting that it would reduce their spending. But shoppers remain wary; only about half expressed confidence that Target will be able to keep credit and debit-card information safe from here on.

The results of the poll lead Bloomberg to conclude that "Target may be able to regain the loyalty of customers" after the data theft problem.

Target's problems have been debated in the popular and financial press, including the turmoil at the top. Analysts at the financial website the MotleyFool wrote that Steinhafel "...was either pushed out or chose to fall on his sword because somebody had to take the blame for the company's massive security breach that put 100 million credit card numbers at risk."

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