Target Express enters the small-format fray

There was plenty of interest in Target’s recent opening of a small-format store (Target Express) in the Dinkytown neighborhood of Minneapolis. The proximity to the University of Minnesota shaped a lot of the content in the store, according to local press coverage. I commented recently at RetailWire about Target Express, and I have mixed feelings given the other challenges on Target’s front burner right now:

With Walmart’s strengths in food and commodities, its move into small format stores (Express, Neighborhood Market and so forth) makes a lot of sense. It’s a growth opportunity, especially as a way to find real estate in urban areas and other spaces that can’t handle a supercenter. On paper, it’s not surprising to see other retailers pursuing the same game plan.

Target, on the other hand, has spent so much time and effort over the last few years trying to build a grocery and “consumables” business that it lost sight of what made the company great in the first place. The new CEO (hired since this original posting) needs to focus on fixing apparel and home decor, continuing to roll out CityTarget, and getting Canada squared away — before pursuing a “me-too” real estate strategy that doesn’t play into the company’s core brand positioning.

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