retail news in context, analysis with attitude

In Minnesota, the Star Tribune looks at the remodeled Target store on Minneapolis’ Nicollet Mall, where the company “has redesigned and upgraded everything from the fitting rooms to the online pickup counter and the grocery department” in what one executive calls its most ambitious redesign in two decades.

An excerpt from the story:

“The old vinyl tile flooring has been replaced by more modern, polished concrete. The corners of aisles are curved to be more inviting. The mannequins now look more like, well, real people and represent sizes that range from 4 to 22.

“And the fluorescent lights overhead have been replaced with LED ones, including many specialty lighting treatments that bring more warmth than glare. Beacons are embedded inside each light fixture enabling customers to open a map in the Target app, locate themselves in the form of a blue dot and find nearby Cartwheel deals.

“The downtown Minneapolis store, which will celebrate the completion of its $10 million makeover on Wednesday, features many of the bells and whistles that Target is in the midst of rolling out to hundreds of stores nationwide. The redesigns are a key strategy to revitalize sales along with investing in technology, the supply chain and new brands.”

“It’s more about experience,” says Joe Perdew, who leads Target’s store design team. “It’s about the physical, digital and human elements you want to offer up that help make it all come to life.” Perdew estimates that “experience accounted for about 5 percent of the previous store design, but contributed to about 20 percent in the new plan.”

Some examples: “Fresh produce and grab-and-go meals, with more attractive displays, have been moved to the front of the store. It also has one of the newer Sephora-like beauty layouts that will be in 70 stores by the end of the year, which has huge digital screens behind it displaying videos and images to draw more visual interest.

“And a soundtrack with upbeat, catchy tunes also has been added, playing over the store’s speakers.”
KC's View:
I think that one of the enduring problems that Target will face is that it has seemed out of step with consumers for quite some time, and so it will have to persuade shoppers to give it a chance to make a second first impression. That’s not impossible, but it ain’t easy.

The two Target stores that are close to the places where I spend most of my time - in Stamford, Connecticut, and Portland, Oregon - are so vanilla and so uninspiring that it would take a lot to get me to make special trips there.

I haven’t seen its new approach to grocery yet, but I still have to wonder if Target would be better off partnering with another retailer in its food departments, in much the same way that it has done with CVS in HBC and pharmacy.