Target CEO: CVS deal gets us back to our core DNA

Target CEO Brian Cornell said Wednesday a deal announced this week with CVS/Health will help his company build its in-store and online capabilities and help it focus on its core business.

"You've heard us talk about the focus on what we call signature categories and really getting back to our core DNA: our focus on style; those important apparel, home, and beauty categories; our focus on baby and kids; and more and more our commitment to wellness," he said on CNBC's "Squawk Box". (Tweet This)

"This great partnership we put together with CVS is really part of that focus on building our wellness offering," he added.

Drugstore operator CVS said Monday it will acquire Target's pharmacy and clinic businesses for about $1.9 billion.

CVS will acquire more than 1,660 Target pharmacies across 47 states in the United States and operate them through a store-within-a-store format, the companies said in a statement.

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Shopping carts sit in front of a Target store in San Rafael, California.
Target reinventing food biz   

Cornell said Target would benefit from CVS' scale, expertise and deep experience, as well as its large pharmacy benefit management network, which will now be shopping inside Target locations.

That gives Target the opportunity to leverage its wellness-related products, including over-the-counter health and beauty merchandise, wearables, fitness apparel and food offerings, he added.

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"We think it complements our strategy, our focus on wellness, and we now have an expert in that space and a long-term partner that I think is going to help us drive traffic and growth," Cornell said.

The retailer is in the early stages of reinventing its food selection, and is acting on customer feedback by enhancing its assortment and presentation of natural, organic and gluten-free products, he said. Target is testing the initiative and will accelerate the changes early next year, he added.

—Reuters contributed to this story.