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Target kicks off its holiday deals on Oct. 10, with a price-matching pledge for early-bird shoppers

A customer shops the holiday section at a Target store in Clifton, N.J.

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Target is trying to win over early-bird shoppers this holiday season with a promise that they will get the lowest prices on gifts.

The discount retailer announced Wednesday that beginning Oct. 10 and running through Dec. 24, shoppers for the first time ever will be able to request a price adjustment on all items purchased at Target if it drops the price later in the season. Target said it will continue to match select competitors’ pricing within 14 days of a customer’s purchase, as it has in holidays past.

Target is vying for shoppers’ dollars over rivals that include Walmart, Amazon and Macy’s. Holiday forecasts are calling for a solid jump in consumer spending. But retailers also face a litany of other challenges, including inflationary pressures and slowdowns along the supply chain.

Shoppers are being encouraged to shop earlier than ever to guarantee they receive all of the items on their wish lists. If not, consumers run the risk of stumbling onto emptied-out shelves.

According to a forecast by Salesforce, consumer prices are projected to rise as much as 20% this holiday season. The pandemic has caused disruptions all along the supply chain, from intermittent factory closures overseas, to higher labor and transportation costs that eat into companies’ profits. The retail industry is facing an extra $223 billion in costs of goods sold, Salesforce said.

Target will kick off its holiday push with “deal days” online and in stores from Oct. 10 through Oct. 12 this year.

The company previously announced it’s taking a different staffing approach this holiday season: It will trim back seasonal hires and give more hours to existing employees.

In all, the discounter expects current store staff — about 300,000 people in total — will work 5 million more hours during the holidays. Target still plans to hire about 100,000 seasonal employees, but that’s smaller than the more than 130,000 that it hired for each of the past two holiday seasons.

Target shares are up more than 32% year to date. The company has a market value of $114 billion.

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