By  on October 19, 2017
Target Herald Square.

NEW YORK Target Corp. chairman and chief executive officer Brian Cornell on Thursday sat beneath an I [Heart] Herald Square sign at the retailer's new flexible format store that's opening today [Friday] at 112 West 34th Street here. "Think of the historical significance," he said of the location. "It’s really much more symbolic about where we’re headed as a company. It represents the future of Target."Flexible format stores also bowed this week in Bensonhurst and Fulton Street, Brooklyn; Port Washington, N.Y.; Los Angeles' Mission Hills and Glassell Park neighborhoods; Orange County; Lakeview Ashland, Oak Park and Skokie, Ill.; Minneapolis, and Philadelphia, where there are plans for three more units in 2018 and 2019. A Target store was unveiled in Honolulu, and Cornell said a rare a full-size unit will open in Vermont in fall 2018 — the first in the state.

In Manhattan, smaller-format stores are on tap for the East Village at 50 East 14th Street and the corner of Avenue A, and the Lower East Side at 145 Clinton Street, both launching in 2018. A Hell’s Kitchen store at 615 Tenth Avenue will open in 2019. "There are lots of different neighborhoods in Manhattan," Cornell said. "We're looking at opportunities."

The ceo, who discussed his vision for Target's future at a briefing for reporters, said the retailer has made significant progress against its goals and is accelerating its strategy. "We're reimagining our stores, pursuing a very aggressive digital strategy, moving into new neighborhoods where we never competed before, and transforming our supply chain," he said. He was bullish about Target's brick-and-mortar prospects, saying Amazon's recent Whole Foods acquisition "validates the strategy we’ve been talking about for the last couple years. They recognize that physical stores are critically necessary for success."The smaller flexible format model is clearly still Target's growth vehicle, both on college campuses and urban areas. Based on consumer response to existing units, Target is increasing the rollout to 130 by 2019. "Small-format stores do twice the sales of normal stores, and some are higher," Cornell said, adding, "The stores do $500 to $600 per square foot. This location has incredible traffic with 42,000 people walking by every day."

"We'll have a stronger presence in urban centers because that’s where the is consumer is migrating," he added. "We’re following the consumer. Productivity lifts are consistent across every market."

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