Target aims to please workers with relaxed dress code

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Target Corp. may be known for its button-down culture, but now the company's office workers might show up in a pullover.

The Minneapolis-based retailer relaxed its dress code this week, the Star Tribune reports.

Casual Friday is not just for Fridays anymore under the company's new "Dress For Your Day" policy. The Star Tribune says about 14,000 office workers are affected by the change, which allows them to shed traditional business wear in favor of more casual clothes including jeans, polo shirts, or sleeveless blouses when appropriate.

The newspaper says a company memo to employees recognizes the popularity of casual days, adding “We also know that life’s a little easier when we have more choices — and less dry cleaning.”

The Pioneer Press says Target Corp. has long been famous for requiring traditional business attire such as suits, ties, and dresses. A Target spokeswoman tells the paper the change extends to workers some creativity and control over deciding what's appropriate. "This gives control to all of our team members ... what their needs require, and what they choose to wear," Molly Snyder says.

The Star Tribune says even under the new policy some attire remains a no-no. Shorts, sweats, halter tops, and baseball caps don't make the grade, for example.

The Business Journal sampled reaction among Minneapolis clothiers who sell suits and ties, but found little or no trepidation about the change. The owner of Marty Mathis Clothiers tells the Business Journal: "I think the guys who are wearing sport coats now and really enjoy it are going to continue dressing up. … Your boss and your boss' boss are keeping an eye on you, so if you want to move up the ladder, it doesn't hurt to put on the dog-and-pony show."

FOX 9 asked a productivity consultant for her take. Cali Ressler tells the station Target's reputation as a straight-laced, traditional company will not change overnight.

"Right now, they're in a traditional work structure where it's 8-5 in your chair, in the office building where they're treated like children," Ressler said. "Wearing jeans isn't going to help that."

The need for a morale boost at the retailer likely grew in the wake of the data breach that resulted in hackers stealing the credit and debit card numbers of hundreds of thousands of Target customers during the holiday shopping season.

The breach helped drive 4th quarter profits down 46 percent and led to dozens of lawsuits from banks. Chief Information Officer Beth Jacob resigned from Target this week, saying it's a time of transformation for the company and the retail industry.


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