Inside This Issue - News
Target goes urban
August 6th, 2012
CHICAGO – The first CityTarget opened here on July 25 in the former Carson Pirie Scott building, now known as the Sullivan Center, at 1 South State Street. Other CityTargets opened the same day in the Westwood section of Los Angeles and in Seattle.
The chain currently has plans to open an additional CityTarget next year in Portland, Ore., and a third unit in Los Angeles.
CityTarget represents a new format that is somewhat smaller than the chain’s regular prototype and is merchandised and laid out to meet the special needs of urban consumers. However, there is no single-footprint prototype since the stores are situated in different kinds of structures.
For instance, the Chicago CityTarget is a two-level store measuring about 124,000 square feet, or about 10% smaller than a typical Target. The Westwood store, on the other hand, is located in a single-level 98,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by a Home Depot unit. Located adjacent to the UCLA campus, the Westwood CityTarget stands to do a strong business from the university’s 40,000-plus students.
The former Carson Pirie Scott building that houses the Chicago CityTarget is the first outlet in the chain to be situated in a U.S. Historic Landmark. A special feature of this location, in addition to the striking architectural design of the entrance, is the presence of 32 windows, including second-floor windows on the east side of the building that allow passengers on passing elevated trains (the “L”) to see into the store. There is no exterior signage on the building.
In fact, Target worked closely with state and city historic preservation boards to ensure that it met all landmark requirements in developing the store. The building interior contains more than 100 original columns, and Target is stripping literally dozens of coats of paint to restore many of the ornate capitals of the columns to their original appearance.
The Chicago opening was preceded by a press preview that was attended by Chicago Deputy Mayor Mark Angelson as well as Shawn Gensch, senior vice president of marketing for Target, and Martin Bates, president of Prêt A Manger USA. "We developed the CityTarget concept after recognizing that city dwellers have an affinity for our brand," said Gensch. "They’re hip and chic, they look for value, and they’re design-focused — but we know that making a trip to one of our other nearby locations isn’t always convenient. So we brought Target to them and made sure we carried the products our urban guests told us they want: our latest designer apparel and accessories, great décor for their homes, as well as all the basics and food they need."
Gensch noted that the Chicago CityTarget is the first Target location to feature a Prêt A Manger restaurant. "We’re excited about this first-time partnership with Prêt, as they embody a lot of the same values we uphold at Target: great value and service, high-quality products, and strong commitment to the community."
In developing the CityTarget format, the retailer was able to draw on the experience and insights of a number of regular Target stores that have opened in densely populated urban centers, including uptown Manhattan and nearby New Jersey. Product assortments, for instance, are fine-tuned to meet the needs of urban dwellers who reside in apartments with sometimes limited space and even more limited storage capacity.
Those kinds of adaptations are particularly important in both the hard and soft home departments. Urban consumers, for example, are more likely to need full- and twin-size bedding than queen or king sizes.
But urban living also influences the kinds of food offerings carried. Earlier this year the store team leader of the Target in Edgewater, N.J., noted that most of the store’s urban guests (including a large percentage of Manhattanites) do not have large ranges or ovens, and consequently lean heavily toward microwavable food items.
Similarly, since Target takes into account the ethnicity of its neighborhoods, adjustments are made to appeal to a specific customer base. The insights culled from guests’ requests and feedback on the sales floor are regularly relayed through store team leaders to management at corporate headquarters.
With further growth potential in the suburbs of the United States limited, Target, along with rival Walmart, is focused on expanding in urban markets that promise high levels of customer traffic but also present space constraints or special circumstances, as in the Carson, Pirie, Scott building. CityTarget represents a flexible adaptation of a proven formula.