NEW YORK — More than two months after Target revealed that hackers stole credit card numbers and personal data of millions of its customers, Target's sales, profit and stock price have dropped.
What's worse, the nation's second-largest discounter faces the prospect that some shaken shoppers may not return to its stores for a long time. In fact, Target on Wednesday said it expects business to be muted for some time, though it said sales are recovering since the breach was disclosed in mid December.
John Mulligan, Target's chief financial officer, said Wednesday that the most loyal customers have stuck with Target, but wooing back others will take time.
"We need to remind people why they fell in love with Target," he said.
Target said Wednesday that its profit in the fourth quarter fell 46 percent to $520 million, while revenue declined 5.3 percent to $21.5 billion, saying the breach scared off customers worried about the security of their private data. The chain said the breach resulted in $17 million of net expenses.
Target's stock had fallen 11 percent since it disclosed the breach in mid December. But on Wednesday, investors pushed shares up nearly 7 percent on the news that sales are on the road to recovery. The stock is now trading at about $60, down 5 percent since the theft was disclosed.