Target’s “LA25” grand experiment

Target is using its Los Angeles-area stores as a laboratory for new initiatives, products, store layouts and so forth. I reflect (at RetailWire) on the importance of both returning to its roots and simply executing better:

Target’s origins in 1962 were as an outgrowth of the Dayton’s department store chain. (Full disclosure: I worked there from 1978-1982.) Dayton’s was a pioneer in trend merchandising, and moved many of its key merchants and marketing executives over to Target to help create the “Tar-zhay” that many of us grew up with.

But most of Target’s initiatives for the past several years have been reactive to Walmart (and now Amazon) instead of forging its own path. The expanion of food, the “dollar store” at the entrance and the overall commoditization of the brand have helped Target lose its way. Meanwhile, the chain continues to struggle with the ABC’s of good supply chain execution.

So if the LA25 initiatives help reposition Target as a more upscale alternative, they will probably be successful in the long haul — but only if Target does a better job keeping goods in stock!

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