NEW YORK — Target Corp.‘s flexible format stores are allowing the retailer to expand its sights and sites.
This story first appeared in the October 5, 2016 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Downsized and customized, the units have been muscling their way into neighborhoods the retailer previously wasn’t able to squeeze into with its full-size stores. Target’s first flexible format store in Manhattan, a 45,000-square-foot unit, is scheduled to open today at 255 Greenwich Street in TriBeCa.
With some of its shelves still empty, the retailer on Tuesday was already talking about opening more units in Manhattan.
“We’re working hard and looking at all areas of the city,” said Tony Roman, Target’s group vice president of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. ” The smaller footprint allows us to be more nimble. We can do two-level stores or three-level stores and we can go in and open them more quickly.”
The TriBeCa Target features all the requisite categories in about a third the space of one of its full-line stores. But Roman stressed that the unit isn’t just a shrunken version of a full-size Target.
The new store’s hours of operation are Monday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. “It’s a bit aggressive,” Roman said. “We want it to be aggressive.”
The store makes a strong case for style, with Cat & Jack, Target’s new children’s wear brand, and Who What Wear, its most fashion-forward women’s apparel collection, displayed at the front, along with Mossimo.
“There are a lot of trend pieces here rather than essentials,” a spokeswoman said. “We looked at who lives and works here.”
For example, Who What Wear’s a black high-low dress with flowers is $34.99; black faux leather skirt, $32.99; navy dress with neck tie, $34.99, and Mossimo military jacket, $34.99.
A customization bar on the main floor allows consumers to design and personalize their own T-shirts for $15 and sweatshirts, $25. “This is the first time we’re doing this,” Roman said. “It’s a test. The shirts print while they’re shopping.”
A Chobani Café, another first for Target and the yogurt manufacturer, is a large, airy space six steps up from the main floor. With copper lighting, a communal bar, leather stools and ottomans, and blue and white tile accents, the café is considered a test kitchen by Chobani.
Peter McGuinness, Chobani’s chief marketing officer, said the café will serve breakfast, lunch and light dinner as well as made-to-order coffee drinks and yogurt blends.
“We want to deliver the same Target experience in smaller spaces,” said Roman, adding that he can’t think of anything the store doesn’t have.
There are differences, natch. The home collection, which begins on the main floor and continues on the lower level, focuses on products for apartments rather than homes with Threshold, Todd Oldham’s Hand Made Modern and Target’s new Pillowfort collection for kids. Electronics offers smaller TVs — no big screen models — and wearable technology.
More Cat & Jack is found on the lower level directly across from the toy department.
The TriBeCa store offers a large fresh offering of food, including produce and grab-and-go meals. “It’s nearly a full food assortment. We did our homework to know what the guest really wants,” Roman said, referring to consumer research.
In lieu of multiple dressing rooms — the retailer wanted space to display products — Target opted for two changing rooms inside red-painted corrugated metal boxes that can be moved around the store. “Besides, this customer doesn’t have much time to try things on,” Roman said.
The women’s shoe area surrounds the dressing rooms. A CVS pharmacy is located at the back of the lower level near health and beauty.
There are fewer cash registers than a full-size unit and the registers themselves are smaller. Target is testing for the first time a queuing system with four lanes. Available cash register numbers are posted on overhead screens. The number of self-checkout stations — there are now eight — can be expanded along the front wall, if necessary.
“About 25 percent to 30 percent of our guests use self-checkout,” Roman said.
Target is testing new fixtures in apparel and home and enhanced displays in health and beauty and electronics and entertainment.
The store’s exterior has the retailer’s signature red bull’s-eye logos, while the interior design hints at the style of modern Scandinavian interiors with dark vertical planks of wood as accents, exposed ceilings and the concrete floor stenciled over for a tiled look.
Target has been aggressively opening stores in Brooklyn and Queens in the last year. The retailer plans to invest nearly $1 billion in store openings this year, including three smaller units bowing today at Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, Penn State, State College, Pa., and Cupertino, Calif.
Flexible format stores will open in Closter, N.J., and Elmont, N.Y., on Nov. 2 and Nov. 30, respectively. A unit at the Fulton Mall in downtown Brooklyn is slated to bow in December. A smaller-format store is set to open in 2018 in the East Village.
With today’s openings, Target operates 27 flexible format stores.