In its latest attempt to update its stores, Target (TGT) is trying a new layout to adapt to changing shopper behaviors: separate entrances for those in a hurry and those who want to browse.
The discount chain announced the plan on Monday at the Shoptalk conference in Las Vegas, saying that Target’s first fully redesigned story under that concept will open in metro Houston in October as part of a broader $7 billion, multi-year investment to update its stores and e-commerce.
Contending with three quarters of declining comparable sales, Target is urgently looking to update its locations, many of which CEO Brian Cornell conceded last month were “old, tired stores,” unlikely to bring in a new generation of customers.
Some 40 stores will boast some of the features from the Houston effort when they are upgraded in the fall, Target said in a press release. The company is remodeling 100 stores this year and 250 next year to hit 600 by 2019. The Houston store will likely influence those stores’ upgrades too.
Within the prototype store, a so-called “speed” entrance will direct customers immediately to an overhauled grocery section stocked with items such as grab-and-go goods. The entrance will also be close to a wine and beer shop, self-checkout lanes, and an area where they can pick up orders placed online, seeking to offer these rushed consumers convenience above all. There will also be a 10-minute parking area for shoppers heading in for a quick errand.
“We need to create an environment that’s worthy of shoppers’ time,” Cornell said at the conference on Monday.
The store will also feature an “inspiration”-themed entrance on its left-hand side, where shoppers will see more fashion-oriented items stocked nearby Target’s beauty, jewelry, and accessories departments.
Target had earlier in the day announced it would open one of its small-format stores in the heart of Manhattan’s shopping district, as part of its planned quadrupling of its fleet of urban compact stores, which currently number 32 locations. (There are 1,800 Target stores in all.)
“We’re going after market share right now,” Cornell said.
At the same time, he confirmed recent media reports that Target had shut down its “store of the future” experiment, a prototype for a small-format Target store it was building that featured robots. The reason, Cornell explained, is he wanted to make sure “all of our innovation dollars are providing benefits in the near term.”