Target’s small-format “urban” strategy will need assortment editing

Target and other national chains (such as Best Buy and Kohl’s) have opportunities to open small-format stores, not only in urban markets where a smaller footprint is required, but also in smaller markets that can’t sustain the volume of a full-size prototype store. The challenge to Target in particular is to consider how to edit its businesses and assortments to suit the urban customer. Does it focus on consumables, HBA and other convenience-based categories? (If so, it runs the risk of being perceived as a large-format Walgreens or CVS.) It’s easier to determine which businesses ought to be eliminated completely (I would start with categories like CDs and automotive) than to decide which categories to focus on. But if Target plays to its strengths in trend apparel and home goods, its brand positioning becomes a lot more consistent, despite the company’s more recent emphasis on food.

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