Target is sticking to its script and rolling out star-studded announcements to rev up thousands of employees who are visiting the Twin Cities this week from stores and distribution centers across the nation.
On the heels of a motivational speech by tennis great Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, the retailer said Thursday it will be the exclusive seller of a new line of cookware from supermodel Chrissy Teigen.
Separately, the company announced plans to hire about 120,000 seasonal workers for the upcoming holiday season — 20 percent more than last year.
The Minneapolis-based retailer is betting on a continued surge in online sales and will disperse its seasonal hiring accordingly. It plans to double the number of workers dedicated to handling in-store pickup and curbside service and boost its workforce at distribution warehouses by about two-thirds from last year.
With low unemployment nationwide, retailers are competing for workers willing to sign on for a few months to help shoppers find items in stores and handle online orders.
Target said it would offer existing workers additional hours and would pay temporary hires $12 an hour along with store discounts, up from $11 an hour last year.
It also will spend $2 million on rewards for those who work during the holiday period.
Macy's Inc. said earlier this week it would hire about 80,000 holiday workers for its Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores. Kohl's and J.C. Penney began recruiting people for temporary jobs at the beginning of the summer.
Target rings up a third or more of its annual sales during the fourth quarter and has seen its online sales soar. In the third quarter, sales on Target.com were up 41 percent compared to a year earlier.
The retailer has a history of bringing in leading figures in entertainment, business or pop culture during its employee gatherings each September.
Teigen and Target's merchandising chief Mark Tritton made the announcement about her housewares line from the stage at Target Center to about 30,000 employees attending the company's fall meeting.
The 40-piece collection — which Target will start selling on Sept. 30 — includes cast-iron Dutch ovens, serving dishes, cutlery, glassware and pitchers. Items will range in price from $4 to $120 for a full cookware set.
Target also will carry an exclusive edition of Teigen's second cookbook, "Cravings: Hungry for More."
Teigen, whose down-to-earth style has made her popular with millions of fans on social media, has previous ties to Target, but this is her first product launch.
Two years ago, Teigen and her husband, the singer-songwriter-actor John Legend, were part of the retailer's "Toy Cracker" promotion, a take on "The Nutcracker."
Teigen's first modeling jobs came in a Target weekly ad, according to a Target blog post and interview.
She was, of course, wearing a swimsuit.
Jackie Crosby • 612-673-7335