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Target's gift to holiday shoppers: Free shipping starts now

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Target is offering free holiday shipping on everything – starting now.

The Minneapolis-based retailer announced Wednesday shipping for online orders is free from now until Dec. 20 as it tries to compete with Amazon, Wal-Mart and other retailers to nab online shoppers.

“We’ve spent time as a team to see how we can differentiate ourselves,” Target's new CEO Brian Cornell told the Star Tribune. “Leading with free shipping for the holidays we think is a really important step for Target.”

Most of Target's holiday promotions were already planned before Cornell took the reins in August – except for free shipping, which was decided in the past few weeks, the newspaper notes.

The free shipping offer comes "unusually early," weeks before the official holiday shopping season kicks off over Thanksgiving weekend, The Associated Press notes. Four months ago, Target started offering free shipping on orders of at least $50, but this holiday offer includes any item at any price – even an $8 nail polish.

The Wall Street Journal notes this holiday promotion is yet another step the retail giant is making to bounce back from last year's holiday data breach, which led to the worst customer-traffic levels in years.

Free shipping is just the latest holiday promotion from Target. At the company's annual fall meeting in September it announced two new holiday-season partnerships with shoemaker Toms and TV personality Ellen DeGeneres. Other partnerships have also been announced for the season; read about them here.

Target also launched a partnership with David Stark Designs advertising campaign, which begins Nov. 2, and a new Wish List app so people can share their holiday lists with one another. The app will be available starting Oct. 31.

The store is re-launching its mobile apps in time for the holidays, which includes the capability of using Apple Pay on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The savings app Cartwheel will also offer daily deals from Nov. 2 to Dec. 24 and offer 50 percent off a different toy daily during that timespan.

The retailer has also extended its price match policy from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24.

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