Target IT boss Mike McNamara has cut the retailer’s tech budget, despite hiring 700 new engineers to drive its focus on technology.

The former Tesco chief information officer, who joined Target just over a year ago, has already made sweeping changes at the US retailer, slashing the number of IT projects it invests in from 800 to just 80.

“Even a company as big as Target doesn’t have 800 priorities,” said McNamara, who has also reduced the number of IT projects the retailer outsources to other companies.

Target previously outsourced about 70% of its technology work to other companies – and around the same proportion of its tech staff were contract workers. 

But the retailer has saved costs by bringing more of that work in-house and now directly employs about seven in every 10 of its technology employees.

McNamara used the cost savings made from reducing the number of outsourced projects to drive IT hires at the discount retailer, bringing in 700 new engineers to bolster its tech focus, with plans to recruit a further 800 workers across the team.

McNamara has placed fulfilment, online retail and in-store technology at the centre of his strategy as Target aims to compete with retailers such as Amazon in the US.

“There will be a new battleground for retail over the next decade,” McNamara added.

“Whoever has got the best technology and the best supply chain has the best chance of winning.”