In a CNN Exclusive, Carol Costello sat down with Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel to discuss Obamacare and the economy. This conversation comes as Target reveals it will be hiring fewer employees this Holiday season.
Here is a transcript of the interview, courtesy of CNN:
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: I got that word firsthand when I sat down exclusively with Gregg Steinhafel, the CEO of Target. The second largest retailer in the country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One, two, three.
COSTELLO (voice-over): It's a great day for C.L. Gideons Elementary School kids in Atlanta where a smile could be had for a song.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you got? You got me, baby, and that's a lot.
COSTELLO: Target, as part of its billion-dollar commitment to education, revamped the school's library and even stocked the shelves.
GREGG STEINHAFEL, CEO, TARGET: Giving back is part of our DNA.
COSTELLO: It's perhaps the most enjoyable part of Gregg Steinhafel's job as the CEO of the nation's second largest retailer. The rest is challenging. But running any kind of business in an uncertain economy ain't fun.
STEINHAFEL: We were very encouraged in the beginning of 2012 and we got off to just a fantastic start and it seemed like the economy is really starting to gain some momentum and things softened up in the last half of 2012. And I think that we were expecting 2013 to improve more than it has.
COSTELLO: So Target is cutting back on holiday hiring. This year it plans to hire about 70,000 temporary workers, down from 88,000 a year ago. Instead, Target will offer more holiday hours to full-time staffers. Steinhafel insists the change is not because he expects sales to be down but because shopping habits have changed.
STEINHAFEL: This is a time where there is greater transformation going on in our business than we've seen in a long time. And it's really the convergence of a lot of factors. It's the -- it's the physical retailers needing to be more digital retailers and it's digital retailers wanting to be more physical and bringing merchandise close to their guests.
COSTELLO: Steinhafel's company is also grappling with Washington and what he feels is an inability to come up with a cohesive plan for the economy. And then there's Obamacare.
STEINHAFEL: You spend a lot of time in Washington helping to shape that legislation and to provide credibility around what is a large employer -- what are the challenges that -- that faces Target. Clearly, we're going to comply with everything, but our objective is really to help make the legislation better.
COSTELLO (on camera): A lot of companies are saying part-time workers, you know, go to the insurance exchange to sign up. We're not going to foot the bill anymore. So what is Target's stance?
STEINHAFEL: Well, we haven't made any final decisions yet because our enrollment period is a little later than everybody else. So we're still looking at how the law is being shaped and written, what other competitors are doing and we're assessing the landscape to try and determine what's the right thing for us to do as a company.
COSTELLO: A company that still has a major challenge ahead. Attracting holiday shoppers at a time when Target's retail sales have been soft. Key to turning target's signature red into black. (END VIDEOTAPE)
COSTELLO: And even though Steinhafel says Target has not yet made a formal decision on health care, he does say Target continues to work the Obama administration on tweaking the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.