Target shares hit all-time high as optimism grows amid changes and fading data-breach memories

Markets Associated Press

Target's stock hit an all-time high on Monday as the discount retailer moves forward with shuttering its unprofitable operation in Canada and the fallout recedes from its damaging 2013 data breach.

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Shares of Target Corp. rose $1.19, or 1.5 percent, to $80.37 in afternoon trading after climbing as high as $80.81 earlier in the day.

The upbeat momentum reveals optimism for a company after years of organizational missteps in what has become a much more competitive market.

Earlier this month, the company announced that it will lay off about 1,700 workers, eliminate another 1,400 unfilled positions and cut up to $2 billion in costs. It will also focus more on technology to boost its online sales growth. The latter move will involve about $1 billion aimed at beefing up business from shoppers who are more likely to go online for products.

Problems with the company's ill-fated Canadian venture began in in early 2013 and eventually involved 17,000 jobs and 133 stores. Costly retail regulations and a failure to win over Canadian consumers turned the move into a bust. The company will shut down the first 16 of its stores there starting next week.

At the end of 2013, hackers stole millions of customers' credit-and debit-card records from the company in what became a costly and image-damaging incident.

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Brian Cornell, a former PepsiCo executive, took the reins as CEO in August of 2014 and was tasked with reclaiming the retailer's image. His plan to make the company more nimble and agile also involves sprucing up key departments including fashion and children's products. The plan also involves reimagining the grocery area, with more of a focus on organic and locally produced products.