MINNEAPOLIS -- Target Corp. plans to open its first store in a new, smaller format in Seattle in 2012, with plans to expand to 10 other markets in such cities as San Francisco and Baltimore in the next few years.
"We've never been a cookie-cutter retailer, but we are increasingly realizing that one size doesn't fit all," said John Griffith, executive vice president of property management at Target.
The new store will be about 90,000 square feet. The new urban prototype will range anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 square feet. A typical Target store ranges in size from 125,000 to 180,000 square feet.
Company officials made the announcement Friday at a rare media conference at Target Field, the Minneapolis ballpark.
Target is no newcomer to cities. It opened its first urban store in Chicago in 1994 and now operates about 150 stores in cities with more than 100,000 people within two miles.
In July, it opened its first store in New York's Manhattan, though the size was in line with the regular stores.
The new format represents Target's new approach to urban markets. Now, as Griffith noted, the company is making the store fit the site, not the "site fit the store."
The new prototype will be in essence a mini-Target, offering a broad array of merchandise from fashion to home furnishings but it will focus on daily essentials.
Friday's event featured presentations from a series of executives, including Chief Executive Officer and chairman Gregg Steinhafel and chief financial officer Doug Scovanner, as well as a slew of merchandising executives who offered details of holiday plans, advertising strategies and other initiatives.
Like many retailers Target faces tough challenges as shoppers deal with unemployment that's still stuck at almost 10 percent.
While Target saw revenue rise in the latest quarter, the chain didn't generate enough business this spring to get back to 2008 levels on a per-store basis. But company officials reiterated that they are counting on driving traffic this holiday season and beyond with two key initiatives: a 5 percent discount for its credit card holders which will be rolled out Oct. 17 and heavier emphasis on food.
Company officials said Friday that they have noticed that the expanded food areas have brought shoppers into the store, and they are then shopping across the aisles, picking up fashions and home furnishings.
Steinhafel told journalists during the store tour of a newly remodeled store that Target is seeing an instantaneous increase of 6 percent in total sales; over three years, he expects a 10 percent lift in total sales for the remodeled stores.
As a way to drive traffic to stores this holiday, Target also announced it would begin carrying six models of Apple Inc.'s iPad, starting $499, starting Oct. 3.
Target will be the largest retail chain to carry the iPad. Its shares rose $1.20, or 2.2 percent, to $54.97.
The company also unveiled some of its holiday ads. Their theme is "Give jolly, save merrily."
Target comes into the holiday period with advantages over chief rival Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which has suffered through five straight quarters of declines in revenue at stores open at least a year.
Furthermore, its target customers also have more money than Wal-Mart's.