Drew
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Drew in Just my thoughts,

​Is Target Pretending to Be Health Conscious to Boost Profits?

Target (NYSE: TGT) recently announced that they are going to replace the candy and gum at their checkout stands with healthier options such as granola bars and fruit. Putting aside the fact that granola bars are basically candy bars for Whole Foods moms who don’t know any better, is this a move by Target that signals they care about the health of their customers?

I say no. I assume Target has an ulterior motive. It seems like they are trying to have their cake and eat it too. They want the positive press that comes from being health conscious without actually having to do anything drastic. CVS (NYSE: CVS) recently stopped sales of all cigarettes. Now, that’s a statement.

Not only does Target still sell cigarettes, but they sell tons of candy all over the store. They simply removed it from the checkout aisle. Anyone who goes into Target wanting candy is going to get some. That’s like how DC lobbyists are hesitant to lobby inside the White House because their visits are logged. That could lead to bad press. But, they are free to meet up and lobby like crazy at the coffee shop right across the street. Democracy in action, baby.

I will give Target credit for purchasing Fitbits (NYSE: FIT) for all their employees. That’s pretty cool, even if it is probably out of a desire to ultimately lower their employee related healthcare costs.

The true cynic in me thinks buying Fitbits might be part of a grander, more nefarious plan to track their employees every move in order to optimize efficiency. Every retail company has to compete with Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), and we all know that the Seattle giant wouldn’t mind firing a pregnant woman who just got evicted if it meant padding their bottom line. Only time will tell if Target is on the path to ruthlessness or generosity, and how their ultimate decision will affect their valuation.