DAYTON’S AND HUDSON’S NOW MARSHALL FIELD’S
Byline: Jean E. Palmieri / With contributions from Arnold J. Karr
NEW YORK — First, the Dayton and Hudson names were banished from the corporate banner. Now they will disappear altogether.
On Friday, Target Corp., announced that the Dayton’s and Hudson’s store names will be changed to Marshall Field’s. The move is designed to “increase the power of the company’s brand and strengthen its competitive position as a national department store,” according to a statement.
The move comes exactly a year after the company changed its name from Dayton Hudson Corp., the entity formed by the 1969 merger of two cross-regional department store titans, Detroit-based J.L. Hudson Co. and Minneapolis-based Dayton Corp. At that time, Target was a fledgling mass merchandiser started by Dayton’s just eight years earlier. The Target stores now represent 75 percent of the company’s sales and profits.
A company spokesperson would not put a timetable on when the nameplates would be changed, saying only that it would be sometime this year.
“We selected Marshall Field’s name because it is known worldwide and represents our largest business,” said Linda Ahlers, president of the department store division. “One name gives us the opportunity to focus on a single brand at all levels of our business. This is particularly important for our Internet initiatives and the launch of our online gift registry that give us a presence beyond the markets where we have stores. These initiatives will be strengthened by a national brand.”
There are no plans to close any stores or eliminate any positions as a result of the name change, the company said. There are 19 Dayton’s stores in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, plus 21 Hudson’s units in Michigan. The 24 Field’s stores are located in several states in the Midwest. The company also said there will be “no significant change in how the company will operate its stores aside from [the] normal course of business changes.”
However, the name change is expected to be significant in the markets in which the stores operate — at least at first.
“The customers in Detroit and Minneapolis will react pretty negatively at first,” said Neil Stern, a partner in the retail consulting firm of MacMillan Doolittle in Chicago. “Both are institutions in their markets. Even though the ownership has changed and the families are long gone, there are still legacies.”
Stern doesn’t believe, however, that the name change is a precursor to the sale of the department store division. For years, Target Corp. has denied reports that it is planning to divest itself of the department stores to further concentrate on Target.