Minneapolis—What is obviously a bad situation became a lot worse. Target revealed today that there are even more than 40 million in-store shoppers who had their data stolen in the mid-December hacking incident of debit/credit cards. The figure is probably more like 70 million to 110 million shoppers!
Target had previously disclosed that about 40 million credit and debit card accounts of customers had been stolen. Hackers reportedly stole customer names, credit/debit card numbers, expiration dates and security codes for those who had shopped from pre-Black Friday to mid-December.
Comp Sales Decline
While investigating the fraud, Target found at least another 70 million had their data stolen too, including names, mailing addresses, phone numbers or email addresses.
“I know that it is frustrating for our guests to learn that this information was taken, and we are truly sorry they are having to endure this,” Gregg Steinhafel, Target’s chief executive said in a statement. “I also want our guests to know that understanding and sharing the facts related to this incident is important to me and the entire Target team.”
There may be some overlap between the 40 million who had payment information breached last month and the 70 million whose information was stolen regardless of whether they shopped. Spokesperson Molly Snyder said the two batches of data were stolen as parts of the same overall theft.
Target also said that its December sales were “meaningfully weaker than expected,” and that it expects a comparable store sales decline of 2% to 6% for fourth quarter. Earlier last fall, the mass merchants had boasted that its fourth quarter sales started off “stronger.
“In light of the recent data breach, our top priority is taking care of our guests and helping them feel confident in shopping at Target,” John Mulligan, chief financial officer, said. “At the same time, we remain keenly focused on driving profitable top-line growth and investing our resources to deliver superior financial results over time.”
To help assure customers, Target said affected shoppers would encounter “zero liability” from any damage they suffer due to the breach in its data. Target also offered to provide free credit monitoring and identity theft protection for a year to affected customers.