April 7 (UPI) -- Target announced Wednesday that it'll spend more than $2 billion with Black-owned U.S. businesses over the next four years and stock its shelves with products from hundreds of those businesses.
The retailer said the moves are part of its commitment to advance racial equity in the United States.
The company's plans "also represent significant economic opportunity for hundreds of new Black-owned companies, who we look forward to doing business with for years to come," Christina Hennington, Target executive vice president and chief growth officer, said in a statement.
Over the past year, Black-owned businesses and brands have seen more support in a sustained push for social and economic justice following national protests against police brutality and more attention to the nation's racial wealth gap.
Forward Founders, one of Target's programs, will help Black entrepreneurs in startup efforts to help them navigate product development and scale for mass retail.
Through existing programs like Target Accelerators and events like the Black-Owned Business Vendor Fair, the retailer says it has long sought to attract diverse businesses. Target says it's increased business with diverse suppliers by 64% between 2016 and 2018.
Target announced after the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis last May, that it would donate $10 million to support nonprofit partners "focused on addressing the systemic and structural barriers facing Black communities." Target is based in Minneapolis.
"We have a rich history of working with diverse businesses," Hennington added. "But there's more we can do to spark change across the retail industry, support the Black community and ensure Black guests feel welcomed and represented when they shop at Target."