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Target Launches New Paid Membership Program As Sales Continue to Drop

The retailer's full-year sales declined in 2023 for the first time in seven years.
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As part of an initiative to boost lagging sales, Target is taking a page out of its biggest rivals' playbooks and launching a brand-new paid membership program.

Target plans to debut this new paid service, called Target Circle 360, on April 7, according to a March 5 press release. Those who join can receive free same-day deliveries from Target's delivery service, Shipt, and its retail partners for orders over $35. These deliveries will include no fees and could reach your door in as little as an hour. Members will also have access to free two-day shipping.

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The service isn't all that different from similar paid memberships offered at competing grocers. The paid Walmart+ program launched in 2020, for example, gives members access to unlimited free deliveries, gas discounts, and Scan & Go technology through the Walmart app. Similarly, Amazon Prime memberships give shoppers access to free deliveries and other services.

The Target Circle 360 announcement comes as the retailer continues to fight a trend of declining sales. Target CEO Brian Cornell told CNBC's Becky Quick in November 2023 that the company had seen seven consecutive quarters of declining sales for items like clothing and toys. He attributed the trend to consumers cutting back on spending as they continued to struggle with inflation.

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Target's latest earnings report for the fourth quarter of 2023 and the full year, released on March 5, showed that its sales woes aren't over just yet. The company's full-year sales decreased by 1.7%, its first annual sales decline in seven years, per the Associated Press. Though Target beat sales expectations for the recent holiday season, the grocer said it expects to see same-store sales decline between 3% and 5% during the first quarter of 2024.

However, the company plans to roll out new innovations like Target Circle 360 "as part of our roadmap for growth aimed at meeting consumers where they are, reigniting sales, traffic, and market share gains, and positioning Target for profitable growth in 2024 and beyond," CEO Brian Cornell said in a statement.

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Target Circle 360 will debut as part of a revamped Target Circle program—a free loyalty service first launched in 2019 that offered customers access to several perks like exclusive deals and birthday discounts.

Customers who own a Target Circle Card (previously known as the Target RedCard) will be able to sign up for Target Circle 360 for $49 annually. Those who don't have a card will have to pay $99. However, any shopper who signs up for the paid membership between April 7 and May 18 will only have to pay $49 for their first year.

The new Target Circle program will also have a free membership option that gives shoppers access to automatic deals applied at checkout and personalized bonuses. So even if you don't want to pay for Target Circle 360, you won't have to miss out on Target Circle perks altogether.

"The new Target Circle experience was designed to flex and grow with our guests to deliver more value and ease—no matter how they choose to shop with us—so every visit feels personal, rewarding, and made just for you," Cara Sylvester, Target's executive vice president and chief guest experience officer, said in a statement.

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe