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Target Goes Bigger to Get Better

In brick-and-mortar’s ongoing struggle against e-commerce juggernauts like Amazon, Target’s newest move is to add more brick and more mortar to make it more competitive in cyberspace.

The Minnesota-based retail giant announced on Thursday its new plan to increase the floorspace of its stores up to 150,000 square feet, which it says is more than 20,000 square feet larger than the chain store average. The plan also calls for increased natural lighting and locally sourced wood.

Starting in 2023, more than half of Target’s approximately 200 full store remodels and almost all the retailer’s approximately 30 new stores will include elements of the new design. Beginning in 2024, all of Target’s remodels and new stores will feature the majority of the reimagined store design elements.

“With our reimagined store design and larger store footprint that better supports our same-day services, we can give guests more of what they love while incorporating features that build on our commitment to sustainability, community and helping all families discover the joy of everyday life,” said John Mulligan, executive vice president and CEO.

Part of having a bigger physical footprint is the desire to have a smaller carbon footprint.

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“The retailer’s stores and operations play a pivotal role in its goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2040. Its future new stores and remodels will include updates such as natural (CO2) refrigerants to help lower the retailer’s emissions and EV charging ports for its guests, with many locations including rooftop solar,” the company said in a statement.

The layout also promises to bring a “reimagined store design—which features more open layout and localized elements to inspire and serve its guests.”

Besides the aesthetic, the new designs will allow Target to better inventory flow. Currently, the company says, its stores fulfill more than 95 percent of the retailer’s digital orders, and same-day delivery and pick-up services account for more than 10 percent of its overall sales despite NewStore research suggesting retail interest in curbside pickup is on the decline. Just 25 percent offer the service down from 34 percent last year, according to the retail tech company’s 2023 Omnichannel Leadership Report.

The new store design will deliver on Target’s “stores-as-hubs strategy for digital fulfillment,” the company says.

The maiden venture opened recently at a store site in Katy, Texas, just outside of Houston. According to it features more windows, more lights and regionally sourced wood. A local design flair is reflected in a succulent garden in the shape of Texas itself.

Wall Street had rave initial reviews of Target’s forthright move a fortnight ahead of Black Friday, pushing its stock price up 5.86 percent to $161.83 per share in early trading Thursday.

The omni-centric store strategy suggests Target isn’t too concerned about a recent lawsuit claiming its $17 billion Shipt delivery service and the brawn behind its same-day success misclassifies workers.

“I’m suing Shipt because instead of playing by the rules most Minnesota employers play by, Shipt is taking advantage of Minnesotans to enrich itself while leaving workers to fend for themselves,” Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said when filing the legal action last month. “Unlike other employees, these workers have no clarity on how much they will be paid day-to-day, and they often don’t receive the minimum wage and overtime they’re entitled to.”