First TargetExpress opens in Minnesota

TargetExpress (NYSE:TGT) opened its doors today in Dinkytown, Minnesota, unveiling the retailer's first test of a smaller, urban store.

Target announced in January that it would open its smallest format ever near its home market of Minneapolis. The 20,000 sq.-ft. space is near the University of Minnesota and is about the sixth of the size of a traditional location. The store sells roughly 15 percent of the typical merchandise found at a normal Target.

"We're testing things on an ongoing basis," Kamau Witherspoon, senior director of store operations, told the Star Tribune. "This is just our latest innovation."

Target is increasingly eyeing opportunities to reach shoppers in urban areas. At the moment, about 11 percent of Target stores are in urban areas. While it may not have all the items traditionally found in a Target--no furniture or apparel--it does include a pharmacy, socks and underwear and a full-size beauty department with a beauty concierge. The food department also includes a lot of grab-and-go meals and beverages.

In 2012, Target began testing a middle-of-the-road concept, an 80,000 to 100,000 sq.-ft. store called CityTarget. There are now eight CityTargets in cities such as Chicago, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon.

Target's foray into Express operations is on par with a growing trend for retailers to bring traditionally larger storefronts from the suburbs to smaller spaces in cities. Walmart recently announced the expansion of its smaller store network, namely Neighborhood Market and Walmart Express. And last month Ikea opened its first city-center storefront.

It's unclear how many TargetExpress locations will eventually open, but Witherspoon said there are already plans for four new stores in 2015. Target moved quickly to open the Dinkytown location, and the process took less than a year from conception to opening day.

For more:
-See this Star Tribune article

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