Shoppers returning to Target
new york » Target’s efforts to drawshoppers back into its stores are paying off.
Take Annabel Bernardo, who once bought trendy clothes at Target but cut back after she felt it lost its fashion edge. Now, Bernardo ofRockvilleCenter, Md., is back: “The store is looking much better. It’s looking more upscale.”
That Target has had five consecutive quarters of increases in a key sales measure suggests shoppers are returning to the discounter that pioneered the concept of putting affordable, chic fashions under the sameroof as groceries and toiletries.
That’s good news for Target, which had setbacks in recent years, including amajor debit and credit card hack that affected sales for months and a misstep that led toa focusongroceries instead of the cheap chic fashions its customers craved.
The sales improvements come as Target continues a turnaround plan it started after it hired CEO Brian Cornell in 2014. As part of the plan, Target got rid of its money-losingCanadian operations and revamped its management team.
The key to luring shoppers back has been changes in stores. Target has been updating its fashion, baby products and home decor. It also has launched a plussize collection for women, Ava & Viv, marking its first exclusive fashion line in more than a decade.
Experts say it will be key for Target to distinguish itself from other discounters while not being perceived as too pricey for middleclass shoppers.
“It’s a tricky balancing act,” said Craig Johnson, president of retail consultancy Retail Growth Partners.