MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.—Target Corp. believes small is beautiful. This year, the company plans a significant expansion of its smaller size format, plus more robotics solutions and the addition of alcoholic beverages and fresh groceries to its pickup services, reports Chain Store Age.
The chain plans to begin exploring sites for stores that are about 6,000 square feet, or about half the size of its current small format store. The company hopes the small outlets will help it reach even more shoppers in urban neighborhoods and on college campuses. The first lease will be signed this year with the first store opening set for 2021.
Last year, Target opened its 100th small format store, and this year, it plans to open 36 additional locations. Target's smaller size stores contributed more than $1 billion in total sales in 2019.
The chain also has been busy remodeling existing stores. So far, 300 have been completed and 1,000 more should be updated by the end of the year. As part of the remodel program, Target will test a new front-of-store layout designed to create a more welcoming environment, complete with fresh flower displays, a curated product assortment and lower walls and counters so associates can more easily assist customers. Shoppers can expect to find a “transformed” electronics department in 200 stores this year, plus 200 more in 2021.
Target also aims to boost the speed and efficiency of its supply chain by using robotics to replenish inventory to hundreds of stores by mid-2020. The technology, which has been tested in-store, enables precise sorting on an aisle-by-aisle basis, helping store employees restock faster and reducing backroom inventory.
This year, Target will open new warehouses near key markets, including New York and southern California, to quickly replenish stores in high-volume areas, and the chain will offer an assortment of fresh grocery and adult beverage items via its order pickup and drive-up fulfillment services. Testing the new delivery options will begin in the Minneapolis area in the spring, with plans to expand the service to nearly half of Target's stores in time for the holiday season of 2020.