By Sam Parker
Metropolitan living may mean having more restaurants, boutiques and bars down the street, but it may also mean having less grocery marts or electronic stores to choose from. Unless urban dwellers are willing to trek outside of the city limit signs, they are often left to shop at small markets or downsized grocery stores when trying to stock up the house.
As a way to introduce their products into the hearts of large metropolitan areas in the United States, Target Corp. is experimenting with smaller store layouts so guests no longer need to travel outside of the city to find a Target store.
CityTarget Stores: Multi-Storied and Smaller than Traditional Stores
Known as CityTarget shops, these stores will range from 80-100,000 square feet so that they can fit into crammed cityscapes, according to Meghan Mike, associate specialist for Target’s corporate public relations. In comparison, Target’s regularly-sized stores are approximately 135,000 square feet while SuperTarget locations average about 186,000 square feet. If space is available for purchase, the CityTarget shops will be placed in preexisting buildings, and most locations will expand upward to span several floors. Though Target currently has over 150 stores in locations where at least 50,000 individuals reside within two miles, these new CityTarget shops are focusing on downtown areas to draw in heavy foot traffic.
Because of the tighter floor plans, Mike said the assortments of in-store merchandise will be tailored from about 75,000 to 40,000 items. Though selections will be edited, CityTarget shops are taking hyperlocal approaches to better understand the needs and wants of their urban guests. The stores will offer more fashion-forward products in apparel and home, fresh food in grocery sections and frequently-purchased staples throughout the store to ensure convenience and satisfaction for shoppers. Instead of offering lawn furniture, for example, CityTarget shops will stock air mattresses for city dwellers who are expecting out-of-town company. Paper towels will come in smaller packages of four rolls instead of 24 and toilet paper will be restocked more regularly. Pharmacies will be included in CityTarget stores as well.
Demographics and Characteristics of Projected CityTarget Shoppers
City populations consist of more ethically-diverse individuals, according to Target research. The market of CityTarget shoppers includes more men, young singles, young couples without children and empty nesters in comparison to the guests of regular Target stores. Urban guests live mostly in multi-family dwellings as well, and many do not own cars.
“[Urban guests] fill the week with daily pop-in shopping trips, while the weekend is reserved for less frequent errands and shopping excursions,” Target’s research states. “On average, the urban guest spends $11 per trip, compared to the traditional guest trip of $42. While it’s a lot less, their frequent trips add up quickly, making them just as important as our traditional guest.”
Differing from Traditional Targets: Storefront Window Displays
For the first time, Target will utilize storefront window displays, but decorations will be minimal, Executive Vice President John Griffith told Bloomberg Businessweek. Though mannequins will wear new clothing items in the windows, Target hopes to avoid department store appearances by keeping outer appearances clean and simple. Griffith said the window displays must not clutter or block the views peering into the locations because customers must be able to see the merchandise and great values from outside while walking down the sidewalks.
By March of 2013, Target plans to open seven CityTarget shops in Chicago and more in other locations across the country—Seattle, San Francisco, Portland and Los Angeles. In LA, CityTarget stores will be located in Downtown LA, Beverly and in Westwood. Three locations in Chicago as well as locations in Westwood, Downtown LA and Seattle are scheduled to open in July. Mike said Target plans to build in other major cities in the U. S., but there are currently no details on which areas will receive CityTarget shops.