Target Invites Direct Comparison with Wal-Mart
Target made its way to the upper echelons
of American retailing by presenting its differences with Wal-Mart. Now, the
company’s CEO believes it should go head-to-head and invite consumers to
compare the quality of the products sold in its stores and prices to those
at the world’s largest retailer.
Gregg Steinhafel, Target’s CEO, told the Dow
Jones Newswires that the retailer would continue to “maintain our focus
on fashion, design and a superior store experience.”
At the same time, Mr. Steinhafel said, “We’ll
continue to address the gap between the perception and the reality of our
Target is currently feeling optimistic about its prospects
and the company maintains it gained market share over the past year as it remade
its private label lineup, tested fresh food sales in its general merchandise
stores, remodeled locations and played up in-store savings more than in the
past. Recent visits to the retailer’s website show it with a much larger number
of downloadable coupons, for example, than in the past.
Wal-Mart, for its part, has stumbled somewhat recently,
with same-store sales declining in the past quarter.
Some believe that an improving economy alone will bring
more shoppers Target’s way even if they strayed from the chain during the recession.
“Target is now in a better position being less of a discounter
with the prospect that some consumers are beginning to be a little less conservative
with their money,” David Abella, money manager at Rochdale Investment Management,
told Dow Jones.
Discussion Questions: Will 2010
be Target’s year? Is it ready to invite direct price comparisons with Wal-Mart?
What will it take for Target to overcome the perception that Wal-Mart has