Target has been looking for ways to crack larger urban markets and next week the world will get a look at how the company plans to chase the opportunity when the first CityTarget stores open in Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle.
The concept is Target's attempt at a small store concept although at an average of 80,000 square feet, CityTargets are still pretty big boxes. The new stores will feature groceries, a la the P-fresh concept, to drive store traffic. They won't however, carry items such as lawn furniture that have value for few urban dwellers.
The new CityTargets will also have smaller backrooms for deliveries. According to Reuters, Target "roped off parts of the back rooms" in three existing stores to practice how to handle deliveries and maintain stock in tighter quarters. Trucks making deliveries to the CityTarget locations will be significantly smaller than those bringing products to suburban stores.
Another aspect different from typical Target stores is that all of the CityTargets are going to be housed in existing locations. This means that Target has had to fit to the space available rather than approach each store with a cookie cutter layout. The State Street store in Chicago is opening in a 113-year old historical landmark building. It previously housed a Carson Pirie Scott department store. The store in Seattle is one block away from Pike Place Market.
SmartPlanet reports that Target is also playing up the environmental benefits of its urban store approach. The company points out that opening stores in cities "minimizes the use of new building materials and undeveloped land." The company also touts its experience in developing multi-level stores, a must in most urban locations.
It's clear that Target's approach to urban locations is different than that of its chief rival Walmart. Some see that as a positive.
"They're very good at profitably co-existing with Walmart, but they're also good at trying to figure out what they can do that the competition can't really do well," Robert Drbul, an analyst with Barclays, told Reuters. "If they can get this right that will be very interesting to watch."
How optimistic are you that the CityTarget concept will be a success?