Target makes a convenient target

Many critics of Target are overreacting, first in one direction and then the other, about their “consumables” strategy. Target was criticized for its lack of food and basics, and is now being roasted for having too many groceries. Long-term, this is an appropriate strategy for Target as long as its larger store formats can deliver well-priced and well-edited assortments of fresh and other foods.

The bigger short-term issue at Target is the merchandising of discretionary products. As one analyst pointed out yesterday, Target’s home business (one of its “legacy” businesses) is losing share even though the closing of Linens N’ Things should have helped. And Target’s softlines business (especially women’s) lacks a “core basic” element along with a clear point of view among its private brands.

Can Target be “fixed”? Of course, with some old-fashioned attention to its core assortments at the same time that it continues to build upon its “consumables” strategy.



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