First quarter earnings will be coming out for both Target and Wal-Mart in the coming weeks. Prior quarters were encouraging for each company that they will be able to weather the storm of their respective U.S. sales slumps. The current market, however, is not quite as encouraging; retail sales have been flat or down for four of the past five months and consumer confidence is falling according to researchers at the University of Michigan. Target and Wal-Mart are presently trying to make improvements in order to retain the significant roles they play in the retail industry.
Both of the retail giants are trying to bolster online sales and combat competition from the influx of dollar stores that have thrived in the ever more frugal consumer market. Changes at or near the top have started this process for Target and Wal-Mart. Target named a new CEO, Brian Cornell, who is trying to bring back the affordable style motif associated with the brand. The company has already partnered with Lilly Pulitzer to do so. Domestic affairs for Wal-Mart are now being run by Greg Foran, formerly of Target, who plans to improve store operations across the board. In order to contest companies taking retail business through internet shopping, both companies have invested over $1 billion to increase their e-commerce presence through supply chain and technological improvements.