Tar­get re­design­ing stores to at­tract more shop­pers

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Anne D’In­no­cen­zio

In a move to bring shop­pers back to its stores, Tar­get is em­bark­ing on an am­bi­tious re­design aimed at help­ing peo­ple who need to dash in for milk to get out quickly while en­cour­ag­ing those who want to wan­der the aisles to linger.

The new lay­out was un­veiled by CEO Brian Cor­nell in Las Ve­gas on Mon­day. It will feature a sep­a­rate en­trance and 10-minute park­ing for shop­pers look­ing to pick up an on­line or­der or some essen­tials. New cen­ter aisles will be curved rather than squared off, to in­spire peo­ple to ex­plore, says Mark Schin­dele, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of Tar­get Prop­er­ties. LED track light­ing will re­place flu­o­res­cent fix­tures, and brand bou­tiques meant to repli­cate a spe­cialty-store feel will show­case ro­tat­ing looks.

The first of the re­designed stores will open in sub­ur­ban Hous­ton this fall. About 40 more stores will get the re­model treat­ment by Oc­to­ber, us­ing the Hous­ton pro­to­type as a tem­plate. More than 600 of Tar­get’s 1,800 to­tal lo­ca­tions are sched­uled for up­dates over the next three years. Tar­get ex­pects the re­mod­eled stores to see a 2 per­cent to 4 per­cent bump in sales.

“We wanted the de­sign to be flex­i­ble be­cause that is what shop­ping is all about,” Schin­dele told The As­so­ci­ated Press.

The re­mod­el­ing is a key part of Tar­get Corp.’s strat­egy to win back shop­pers and rev sales. Un­like ri­val Wal­mart, which has drawn more cus­tomers and notched higher sales at es­tab­lished stores, Tar­get has had three con­sec­u­tive quar­ters of de­clines for that sales mea­sure, and fewer shop­pers in its stores. In­vest­ing in stores is an ac­knowl­edge­ment that the in­per­son ex­pe­ri­ence re­mains im­por­tant, even as Ama­zon and other on­line re­tail­ers draw shop­pers away from tra­di­tional re­tail­ers.

At an in­vestor meet­ing last month, Tar­get ex­ec­u­tives spoke bluntly about the shab­bi­ness of many of the chain’s stores. Tar­get pledged to spend $7 bil­lion on the re­mod­el­ing plan and to ac­cel­er­ate its ex­pan­sion of small-for­mat stores, bol­ster its on­line op­er­a­tions and launch new brands. “We have to reimag­ine that store ex­pe­ri­ence,” Cor­nell said then. “To­day’s mil­len­nial shop­per doesn’t en­joy shop­ping in one of our tired stores that hasn’t been touched in 10 years.”

Tar­get has also tested new store de­signs in Dal­las and Los An­ge­les, but Hous­ton’s is the most am­bi­tious store re­design to date. Last fall, Tar­get launched an ini­tia­tive in 25 stores in Los An­ge­les where it tested an up­dated gro­cery pre­sen­ta­tion with new light­ing and foods to pre­pare sin­gle meal dis­played to­gether. The new gro­cery pre­sen­ta­tion was later rolled out in 16 Dal­las stores. Cor­nell said shop­per feed­back in Dal­las and Los An­ge­les has been good.

The Hous­ton pro­to­type’s sep­a­rate en­trances for shop­pers in a hurry and those who aren’t is among its big­gest nov­el­ties.

The en­trance on the right will have a ded­i­cated pickup counter for on­line or­ders. Shop­pers will also have the op­tion of hav­ing their or­der brought to their car. Gro­ceries, wine and liquor will be lo­cated here, rather than in the back where they’re usu­ally found. Sea­sonal essen­tials, such as school sup­plies in the fall, will also be found nearby.

Shop­pers us­ing the “in­spi­ra­tion” en­trance on the left will see the brand name dis­plays and a sec­tion high­light­ing sea­sonal fash­ion. Beauty, jew­elry and ac­ces­sories de­part­ments will be nearby. There will also be seat­ing out­side of Star­bucks. An area to hold store events will be lo­cated be­tween the two en­trances.

Tar­get will tweak the for­mat based on shop­pers’ re­sponses.

“This rep­re­sents our cur­rent think­ing,” Schin­dele said, “but we are go­ing to learn a lot.”

Tar­get’s re­designed stores will in­clude a curved cen­ter aisle, en­cour­ag­ing cus­tomers to ex­plore. The first re­designed store will open in sub­ur­ban Hous­ton this fall. Tar­get will spend $7 bil­lion on re­mod­el­ing. Cour­tesy of Tar­get

Seat­ing will be avail­able near Star­bucks in Tar­get’s re­designed stores. More than 600 stores in the chain are sched­uled for up­dates over the next three years. Cour­tesy of Tar­get

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