Byline: Valerie Seckler

NEW YORK — Philadelphia retailers better brace themselves for a formidable new competitor — Target Stores.
A spokeswoman for the $18 billion Target division of Dayton Hudson Corp. on Tuesday said Target would detail its expansion strategy this afternoon at a press conference in Philadelphia. She declined further comment.
“The Philadelphia market could support about 10 Target stores,” estimated Thomas Tashjian, retail analyst at Montgomery Securities.
“They will probably hurt the discounters the most, because a lot of those stores in the area look old and tattered while the department stores are looking better.”
The May Department Stores Co. polished up the 13 former Strawbridge & Clothier units it acquired last year as it converted them to Hecht’s units, Tashjian pointed out. Meanwhile, Kohl’s Corp. entered the Philadelphia area this past spring with a batch of fresh sites. “The Kohl’s stores are the fresh, focused kids on the block,” the analyst added. “They look good.”
“Target’s new stores and fresh merchandise presentations will be a crucial strategic component in the Northeast,” Tashjian observed, citing the “erosion” of business at regional discounters like Caldor Corp., Bradlees Inc. and Hills Stores Co.
While the Northeast is the most competitive market for general merchandisers, Tashjian said that he “doesn’t expect Target to have much of a problem, given the newness of its stores and the density of the population.”
“The fact that Target is a better mass merchandiser means that its effect will be felt by each retail segment in the Philadelphia market,” predicted Arnold Aronson, managing director of retail strategies, Kurt Salmon Associates. “Target is continuing its march to become a national titan.”
Target aims to blanket the nation with stores by 2000, in part by opening 30 to 40 units in the Northeast over the next few years.

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