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As per media reports, specialty retailer Target Corp. (TGT - Analyst Report) is laying off 475 employees worldwide and will no longer fill up about 700 vacant positions to reduce costs. Earlier, Macy’s Inc. (M - Analyst Report) and J. C. Penney Co., Inc. (JCP - Analyst Report) had announced layoffs as part of their cost-cutting initiatives.

Notably, the jobs losses at Target are proportionately less when compared to its workforce of nearly 360,000 and the 2,000 and 2,500 job cuts at J. C. Penney and Macy’s, respectively.

Of late, Target has been in the news due to a massive security breach.  The company’s stock price hit a 52-week low of $58.75 on Jan 22, 2014. Since the announcement of the breach, Target has lost 5.1% of its market capitalization.

Target faced its worst security breach when information related to credit and debit card holders were hacked. The theft occurred during the holiday season, from a day before Thanksgiving up to Dec 15. The company publicly recognized the breach four days later on Dec 19, 2013.

Recently, as part of the ongoing inquiry, Target had disclosed that the data theft included names, mailing and email addresses as well as phone numbers. Notably, the company has extended help to aggrieved customers by offering one year of complimentary credit monitoring and identity theft safeguard. Target’s customers have three months to register for the program.

Target trimmed its fourth-quarter fiscal 2013 guidance and now expects adjusted earnings per share for its U.S. segment in the range of $1.20 to $1.30, compared with the previous projection of $1.50 to $1.60. Further, comparable-store sales are expected to decline 2.5% in the fourth quarter as against flat comps forecasted earlier.

Currently, Target carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell). Other better ranked stock in the retail sector includes Barnes & Noble, Inc. (BKS - Snapshot Report), which carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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