Target boosting workers' minimum wage to $11 an hour

Mary Buchanan worked the check out line.
Mary Buchanan worked the check out line at Target in Roseville, on Sept. 29, 2015.
Matthew Hintz for MPR News 2015

Target says it will raise its minimum wage from $10 to $11 an hour by October and boost it again to $15 hourly by 2020.

Thousands of employees will be affected, Target CEO Brian Cornell told reporters. "We think it's going to be a very important step forward, one that's going to show even greater support to our team and really emphasize the important role that they play in executing the Target strategy."

The new wage is higher than the minimum wage in Minnesota, which is $9.50 for large employers, and 47 other states.

The move comes after intense pressure over the past few years from labor groups and from some competitors who raised their minimum wage first.

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In 2015, Target wouldn't promise to do the same after Walmart raised its minimum wage to $9 an hour at the time. The following year, Target raised its minimum wage to $10 an hour. (Walmart currently pays $10 hourly.)

Target Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell
Target Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell speaks to employees during Target's annual meeting in Minneapolis, Sept. 16, 2015.
Craig Lassig | AP 2015

At that time, Target stayed relatively quiet when it raised its hourly wage. This time, the company is making a lot of noise about its plans for this year and the future.

Cornell said the Minneapolis-based retail giant wants to retain talent, offer a specialized shopping experience in beauty, apparel and electronics, and improve its online and in-store experience.

"This is just one more step in being really definitive about the investments we're making in our team and the important role they play store by store in serving our guests... and we think we're moving in a very important direction as we get ready for the holiday season."

Target plans to hire 100,000 new employees for the holidays.