Target CEO Still Sees Strong Consumer Despite Retail Industry Woes

(Bloomberg) -- Retail stocks are plunging today, but Target Corp. CEO Brian Cornell says he isn’t worried.

Cornell, who said in August that American consumers were enjoying possibly the strongest environment he’d ever seen in his 37-year career, reiterated that optimism Tuesday on a call with reporters, even as his company’s shares tumbled more than 14 percent.

“We’ve seen no change in the consumer environment,” Cornell said. “Unemployment is low, wages are expanding and we have strong GDP growth. We see a very healthy retail environment as we head into the fourth quarter.”

His continued confidence comes even as Target’s third-quarter results disappointed Wall Street analysts, who are concerned about the impact that looming Chinese tariffs, rising interest rates and the stock market’s recent drop could have on shoppers heading into the critical holiday period. Shares of Target, Kohl’s Corp., and even bellwethers like Dollar General Corp. and Costco Wholesale Corp. fell Tuesday, signaling a broader malaise across the industry.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.