An email chain shows that several top executives of a major online retailer are sharing with Senate and White House officials how they will meet with FBI officials in the wake of a scathing report that found Target’s sales practices were rife with violations.
The exchanges reflect the wide range of responses Target has received since the report, including calls for the company to immediately reinstate sales of goods with a counterfeit tag, to reinstate the use of fake tags in store promotions, to reevaluate its customer service, to take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and to work with Congress to address the concerns.
In a memo released Wednesday, Chief Executive John Mulligan wrote that the company would “work closely with the Department of Justice and Congress to determine the next steps.”
“Our focus is on making sure we’re delivering the best possible product, service and experience to our customers,” Mulligan said in the memo.
“We’ve already addressed our core competencies and are committed to making sure Target is better positioned for the future.
We believe this is the right course of action for Target.”
The memo also urged Target to ensure its products and services “are available and in stock in a timely fashion to all our customers, and our partners, suppliers, suppliers’ and suppliers’ associates.”
Target CEO John Mullin, left, and chief operating officer David Sperling, right, pose with President Donald Trump on Wednesday.
The company also said it would make the following changes: • Increase the number of people in charge of the company’s global sales force.
Mulligan previously said he planned to increase the size of the sales force by more than 20 percent to 30 percent.
• Close its warehouse in the U.S. The retailer has said it plans to keep its warehouse operations in the United States.
Target said in a statement that it has hired two additional employees in the country to help manage warehouse operations.
The memo said the company also will hire more than 500 additional workers at its U.K. warehouse, a move that could increase the number that are employed in the nation’s largest retailer.
Target also has been working to reinstitute sales of items with a tag that says “fakes.”
Last month, Target announced it would temporarily halt the sale of products that had been removed from stores that had sold counterfeit tags, saying that such tags were becoming increasingly difficult to find.
At the time, it said the decision was not related to the FBI investigation.
“There’s no question this is a very challenging time,” a senior Target executive told The Hill in July, adding that the store had been working closely with its partner companies to address issues related to counterfeit tags and would soon begin to work on a plan to address those issues.
The email exchanges between Mulligan and the executives appear to indicate that Target was considering several options before making the decision to halt sales of counterfeit goods, including using a combination of technology to detect the fake tag, conducting an audit of its supply chain and making other changes.
Target’s Chief Financial Officer Mark Stetsen told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the retailer was still exploring all options and would continue to review all options to resolve this issue.
In response to questions from the AP, Target’s general counsel, John F. Mullin Jr., wrote in a separate email that the decision had not been made, and the retailer would “continue to work closely with law enforcement officials and the Department to address this matter.”
In addition, Stetsens wrote that there would be no further comment on the matter.
“This is a complex issue that has been handled carefully by our sales associates,” he wrote.
“I am pleased that Target has made the right decision.”
Stetseners comments echoed those of other executives at the company, who have said they plan on working with the FBI to address its concerns.
“It is the responsibility of our suppliers, partners, employees and our customers to ensure that our products are safe and secure,” said Stetsents email.
“If Target cannot or does not provide this assurance, then Target is not fulfilling its obligation under the FICA Act and we are unable to comply with the law.”
Stettsens response also echoed that of former Target CEO Brian Cornell, who told the AP in June that the federal investigation was not linked to the retailer’s sales of fake goods.
“The FBI investigation did not involve Target,” Cornell wrote.
The Senate committee also is looking into whether Target misled consumers about the presence of fake labels on its merchandise and whether the retailer misled consumers when it denied that its policies violated federal law.
“What is the scope of this investigation?
Does it include the FBI?
How will we know that we have a good cause to hold the company accountable?”
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., asked in a letter to Mulligan on Wednesday, according to a copy obtained by the AP.
“As you know, the Federal Trade Commission is an