retail news in context, analysis with attitude

In Minnesota, the Star Tribune reports that as Target opens TargetExpress stores, the evidence suggests that the goal is to customize them as much as possible to local neighborhoods.

"The first TargetExpress opened in Dinkytown last summer," the story says. "Given its proximity to the University of Minnesota, it is catered to college students living in apartments and on a budget. So you don't find things like kids' toys there. But the Highland Park store is in a neighborhood with lots of families. So that store will not only have toys but also items like kids' sporting goods and supplies for a child's birthday party. And it will have more home decor and kitchen accessories as well as a sizable selection of natural and organic products, said Erika Winkels, a Target spokeswoman."

The Star Tribune goes on to say that "these smaller-format stores are of particular interest to Target CEO Brian Cornell who is looking to them to help fuel Target's future growth. He has also said that personalization and localization of stores will be a big part of his strategy."
KC's View:
There are few things more jarring than going into cookie-cutter stores that do not reflect their neighborhoods. I remember going into two Fresh & Easy stores in the Phoenix and Scottsdale a few years ago - one was in an upper middle class community, the other in a less affluent and ethnic community. And the stores were virtually identical ... which made no sense.

I think that if Target wants to differentiate itself, this is one of the ways it has to do so.