Target CEO Talks Amazon, Apple Pay and Retail’s Future

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Target CEO Brian Cornell has his work cut out for him, but he took to the Code Conference stage in May to make the case that the retail chain’s future is much brighter than its past.

Cornell was named CEO in August as the once-trendy retailer dug out from a massive credit card hack while simultaneously trying to bring back the swagger that had once made it the sexiest of the big-box stores.

In an interview with Re/code Co-Executive Editor Kara Swisher and myself, Cornell discussed technologies like Apple Pay that can transform the in-store shopping experience. He also explained why the future of Target’s e-commerce business is bright, even if it currently accounts for less than 3 percent of the company’s sales.

“We almost need to say ‘thank you’ to Amazon,” he said. “They have taught the American consumer to shop online, but they don’t own that relationship.”

The former Sam’s Club CEO also ticked through the possibilities that could turn its physical stores into a competitive advantage in big cities. Among them are a potential Uber delivery partnership and storage lockers for in-store pickup of goods ordered online.

“We won’t take anything off the table right now,” Cornell said.

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