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Target’s new look

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RICHMOND, Texas — Target Corp. opened its first “next generation” store in this Houston suburb, featuring a new design aimed at creating a faster, easier experience for the quick-trip shopper while encouraging those not in a hurry to linger in the aisles.

The 124,000-square-foot prototype has separate entrances for each.

Those in a rush will find groceries, beverages and a selection of grab-and-go items and meal solutions near the entrance, as well as a dedicated pickup counter for merchandise ordered online. Shoppers can also opt to have their items loaded into their vehicle at a curbside pickup station. An outdoor green space has tables where customers can take a break or eat their lunch.

Shoppers entering via the other entrance encounter displays of exclusive brands and seasonal fashions. Brightly lit beauty, jewelry and accessories departments beckon. Shoppers also can duck into a Starbucks cafe with outdoor seating.

While the Richmond store was built from the ground up, it will influence the hundreds of remodels planned in the years ahead, company officials said.

The 110 stores that Target has remodeled this year have received elements of the next-generation redesign.

“The enhancements inside combine the best of our digital and technology upgrades, elevated merchandise presentations and fulfillment services to make shopping fast, efficient and fun — bringing guests more of what they already love about Target,” stated a post about the Richmond store on A Bullseye View, the company’s blog. “And because no two neighborhoods are exactly alike, each remodeled store is tailored with products and experiences to fit local guests’ needs.”

The Minneapolis-based company has allocated $7 billion to “reimagine” about 1,000 stores by 2020 and update its digital platform, creating what Target calls a smart network, with stores, digital channels and the supply chain working together to meet consumers’ needs. Target is also investing in lower prices.

“We know our guests come to Target on a variety of missions, and this design takes that into account right from the front door, with separate entrances for those seeking inspiration and those who simply want ease,” said Mark Schindele, senior vice president of Target properties. “As we remodel stores now and in the future it’s about mass customization, being locally relevant and doing it at scale across the country, listening to and learning from our guests’ feedback along the way.”

Shoppers entering a reimagined Target find design features that include large glazed glass windows at the front of the store, stenciled concrete floors and LED track lighting throughout. Curved, more circular center aisles feature merchandise displays to engage customers with compelling products in unexpected places, the company said. Employees on the sales floor are being equipped with technology that permits them to search inventory, take payment from a mobile point-of-sale system and arrange for delivery.

Target chief executive officer Brian Cornell said the newly remodeled stores are seeing comparable-store sales increases of between 2% and 4%. Companywide, comps rose 0.9% in the third quarter.

“I feel really good about our store performance,” Cornell told CNBC during an appearance on the cable channel earlier this month. “Our stores are enabling our digital performance. Over half of our digital growth is enabled by our stores. Whether it’s someone ordering online and picking up in a store … . We ship from store, obviously, now 1,400 locations,” Cornell said. “In a given week, about 30 million Americans shop in our stores.”

Aside from its investment in stores, Target continues to roll out exclusive lines in the home goods, apparel and children’s categories. Some of the private brands have already launched, including Joy Lab, A New Day and Hearth & Hand.

“Our new brands have been incredibly well received,” Cornell said. “The reaction across the country has been amazing. It’s driving traffic to our stores, visits to our website. The guests love the collections. So we’re off to a great start. It’s still early, and we’ve got a lot of work to do, but we feel really good about our position as we head into the fourth quarter.”


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