retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Associated Press reports that Target seems to be back on the right track, with five quarters of consecutive sales growth that appears to be rooted in its decision to refocus on the "cheap chic fashions" for which its customers looked to the retailer.

The company also has managed to put missteps behind it, getting past the data hack that puts the personal information of many of its customers at risk, and closing the Canadian stores that it had opened in a major misreading of its ability to compete north of the border.

Still, the battle is not over: "Experts say it will be key for Target to distinguish itself from other discounters while not being perceived as too pricey for its middle-class shoppers," the AP writes.

Meanwhile, Fortune notes that Target "has laid out its plans for upcoming store openings for the next couple of years, and most of them will be smaller locations set in urban areas ... the retailer announced in August that it’s eliminating the CityTarget name and rebranding every store as simply 'Target,' but only one suburban-sized store is set to open over the next couple of years—a 122,000-square-foot space in Allentown, Penn. The next largest is 45,000 square feet in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood, and the rest are less than 40,000 square feet in size.
KC's View:
The story makes the point that Target sees its previous grocery adventures as unsuccessful, which is why its move back to cheap chic was so important. It also makes me continue to think that it is entirely possible that Target could outsource - or even sell - its existing grocery business to some outside player. It already has done so with its drugstore and pharmacy business, which it has sold to CVS.

I could be completely wrong about this. But I think there could be something there.