Move over Meijer and WalMart

July 29, 2012
| By Pete Daly |
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Target stores — including several in West Michigan — are now selling fresh food, including meat and produce.

Target Corp. headquarters in Minneapolis announced last week that it had begun remodeling 30 of its general merchandise stores in the U.S., and upon completion of the construction in October, all the remodeled stores will offer “an expanded selection of affordable and quality fresh foods.”

The Target website promoting its addition of fresh food indicated that the Target store on Alpine Avenue in Walker, which is located midway between a Meijer store and a Wal-Mart, is one of the 30 to be remodeled, but a banner on the store exterior last week revealed that the addition of fresh foods was already a done deal.

Kyle Simpson, team leader at the Alpine Target, said the remodel at his store was completed several weeks ago and it began selling fresh meat and produce “a little over a month ago.”

In fact, he named at least three other Targets in the Grand Rapids region that already sell fresh food for the consumer’s kitchen.

When asked if Target was increasing its competition with Wal-Mart and Meijer, Simpson said it was simply an expansion of Target products to meet the needs of its customers and increase the convenience of “one-stop” shopping there.

Like Meijer and Wal-Mart, Target stores also sell alcoholic beverages and pharmaceuticals.

Simpson was not sure of the total square footage of his store’s remodeled fresh foods section, but it is “much larger” than the canned and dried foods section it previously featured. Some of the remodeled Target stores are actually larger than they were before, according to Simpson.

According to the corporate announcement, nearly 1,100 Target stores currently offer an expanded food layout. At those stores, approximately 10,000 square feet is dedicated to fresh foods, including produce, fresh packaged meat and pre-packaged baked goods, in addition to dry and frozen offerings.

At the new food section locations, Target has a variety of national food brands, as well as Target-owned brands such as Archer Farms, Market Pantry and Sutton & Dodge beef.

Beyond the grocery aisles, most of Target’s new and remodeled general merchandise stores also feature updates in other areas. In the beauty aisles, Target says there is a “more visual environment,” making it easier to browse. The home department offers easier navigation with wider aisles and lower product displays. The shoe department has additional seating and mirrors, and the baby department has improved visibility between baby gear, supplies and apparel.

Nineteen percent of its sales in 2011 were food and pet supplies.

Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT) has more than 1,700 stores across the United States and plans to open its first stores in Canada in 2013. The company also has a credit card business that offers branded proprietary credit cards.

On July 5, Target reported that its net retail sales for the five weeks ending June 30 were more than $6.4 billion, an increase of 2.6 percent for the same period last year. In 2011, the company had total revenues of $69.87 billion, with net earnings of $2.93 billion and diluted EPS of $4.28.

Since 1946, Target has donated 5 percent of its revenue through community grants and programs, which now equals more than $3 million a week.

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