A rendering of Target's flexible format store opening in Jackson Heights, Queens.

Target Corp.‘s early success in Manhattan with smaller flexible format stores has encouraged the retailer to sign more leases. The units have allowed Target to diversify its customer base from suburban moms to Millennials living in large cities and around college campuses.

Target’s same-store sales in the fourth quarter of 2016 declined 1.5 percent while digital sales rose 34 percent. Amid reports that suburban moms have gravitated to Amazon in big numbers, Target is appealing to Millennials with smaller units featuring groceries with more organic, natural and gluten-free options; collections that skew younger, such as Who What Wear, and gender-neutral home decor for children.

Millennials will be top of mind at Target’s 22,500-square-foot flexible format store set to open on the second level of Essex Crossing at 145 Clinton Street in Manhattan in March 2018. The Essex Crossing development will consist of 750,000 square feet of office and retail space; 1,000 residential units, more that half of which will be affordable; a Trader Joe’s; Regal Cinemas; Splitsville Luxury Lanes bowling alley, and an NYU Langone facility. A 150,000-square-foot Market Line will be one of the biggest markets in the world.

Target’s Lower East Side unit will be its fourth in Manhattan, after a store in Harlem, and flexible-format units in TriBeCa and Herald Square, bowing in October. The New York City effort is part of Target’s $7 billion investment in capital for stores, digital and supply chain by the end of 2019.

Previously revealed flexible-format stores are slated to bow in 2018 at 50 East 14th Street in the East Village and the corner of Avenue A, and Hell’s Kitchen at 615 Tenth Avenue in 2019.

Target’s second flexible-format store in Queens, a 22,700-square-foot unit, will launch in 2019 in Jackson Heights as part of the new Shoppes at 82nd Street. The lower-level store will feature a large kids assortment, including apparel and sporting goods; men’s and women’s apparel and accessories; portable technology products and entertainment accessories, and beauty and personal-care products, among other categories.

Target in June will begin a test that will allow shoppers at the TriBeCa unit to have in-store purchases delivered for a small fee, anywhere in Manhattan and to parts of Brooklyn and Queens. At checkout, shoppers can ask to have their items delivered later that day during a time window of their choice. Target thinks the service will be popular among city dwellers who don’t relish lugging purchases home on public transportation or by foot.

As Amazon and Wal-Mart battle for delivery supremacy, Target is wading into the same-day delivery pool.

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