Several years ago, a credit card data breach turned off many Target shoppers. So Target offered a string of dollars-off-your-total-purchase coupons to help lure customers back. The strategy worked, so the coupons eventually went away once the customers returned.

Now, everything from product assortment and out-of-stock problems, to controversy over the retailer’s restroom policy, have once again turned off many Target shoppers. So remember those dollars-off-your-total-purchase coupons?

They’re baaack!

In its new weekly ad that begins this Sunday, Target is offering a coupon for $10 off a grocery purchase of $50 or more. It’s the first in a series of “category coupons” that will be offered every week through the end of the year, and possibly beyond.

“Guests will save $10 off a $50 purchase on a different product category each week, including Grocery, Home, Apparel and Accessories, Trim and Toys,” Target announced when unveiling its holiday season plans. “In December, the promotion will expand to allow guests to save even more with the option to save $25 on purchases of $100 or more.”

It’s telling, perhaps, that in a shopping season dedicated largely to toys and gifts, Target’s promotion is beginning in the grocery aisles.


Target has struggled to find a balance recently between “chic” and “cheap”. It’s stepped up the chic factor in its newly-designated “signature” categories of Style, Baby, Kids and Wellness. But that strategy hasn’t quite worked when it comes to groceries and basics. Target has tried to differentiate itself with more organic and specialty food items. But now the retailer is acknowledging that what grocery shoppers really seem to want, are deals.

“If you walk our stores today versus even six months ago, aisle by aisle, you are seeing more organic, more natural, more gluten free, more local items that are on trend,” Target CEO Brian Cornell said during his most recent call with investors back in August. But “given our recent performance and the increasingly competitive food environment, we are revisiting our second-half grocery efforts from presentation and assortment, to promotion, to improve our competitive position.”

So if the locally-sourced organic kale doesn’t get you in the store – maybe ten bucks off a grocery purchase will.

While the category coupons are designed to stimulate everyday purchases, they’re far from the only deals Target is offering this holiday shopping season. Last week, Target’s Cartwheel app began offering 50% off a different toy each day through Christmas Eve. Several Black Friday deals were made available this week, a full two weeks before Black Friday itself. Next week, Target kicks off its “10 Days of Deals” promotion, which will consist mainly of percent-off discounts in specific categories like electronics, kitchen items and sleepwear. And mark these days on your Target holiday shopping calendar – on Saturday, November 26th, you’ll get $50 off every $100 purchase on holiday supplies like trees, lights, ornaments and gift wrap. And on December 4th, you’ll be able to save 10% on Target gift cards.

Whether it’s holiday shopping or everyday grocery shopping, Target finds itself in steep competition with the likes of Walmart this season. Walmart is offering its own early Black Friday deals, and its groceries are unapologetically more cheap than chic. “I said it before and I will say it again, we will win the season on price – on Black Friday, on Cyber Monday and every day before and after,” Walmart chief merchandising officer Steve Bratspies boasted.

A recent holiday shopping survey found that a majority of shoppers are willing to abandon their favorite stores if others are offering better deals. And three-quarters of those surveyed said promotions and coupons would entice them to shop somewhere new.

So Target has its work cut out for it this season. And you may be the one to benefit. After all, if these holiday-season coupons don’t get you to come back – the deals just might keep getting better until you do.


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