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Target cutting prices on up to 5,000 items to lure back inflation-wary shoppers

'Thousands more price cuts' coming this summer, retailer announces
Posted at 10:27 AM, May 20, 2024

NEW YORK (CNN) — Target has slashed prices on more than 1,500 popular items beginning immediately, ranging from butter to laundry detergent, as the retailer attempts to attract inflation-wary shoppers turned off by high prices.

Prices have dropped effective Monday, with "thousands more price cuts" — amounting to 5,000 items — being reduced over the summer, the retailer announced. The lower prices will aim to "collectively save consumers millions of dollars" on household staples and everyday items such as milk, fresh fruit, diapers and even pet food.

The changes affect name brands, like Clorox and Prime energy drinks, as well as its house brands. Although prices vary depending on the city, Target highlighted some examples with a 75-count canister of Clorox wipes being reduced to $4.99 from $5.79 and one pound of unsalted butter from its Good & Gather brand dropping to $3.79 from $3.99.

Other major retailers, like Ikea and Aldi, have been reducing prices in recent months to re-attract consumers into stores and entice them to spend money since many have slashed their spending because of inflation.

Shoppers have pulled back for a year now as costs have risen 20% to 30% higher than they were three years ago and as incomes failed to keep up, Sarah Wyeth, managing director, retail and consumer with S&P Global Ratings, recently told CNN.

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Retail sales growth has taken a hit because of high prices: Last month, retail sales were unchanged from March when spending increased by a downwardly revised 0.6%, the Commerce Department recently reported.

In April, spending missed the 0.4% increase that economists had projected, according to FactSet. The figures are adjusted for seasonal swings but not inflation. By comparison, a year ago, retail sales surged by 3%.

For Target, the price cuts are also an attempt to turn around sales, which fell last year for the first time since 2016, amid a predicted sluggish 2024. The retailer will give an update on this year’s sales when it reports earnings Wednesday.

Like other big box stores, business has slowed for Target since shoppers stocked up at its locations and online during the height of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

Since its surge, Target's core middle-class customer base has been strained by higher prices and pulled back on discretionary goods such as home decor, electronics and nonessential clothing.

In response, Target recently created a new house brand called Dealworthy to take on dollar stores and Walmart. The budget-friendly lineup consists of 400 items, from phone chargers to disposable plates and even underwear.

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