A New York Times article yesterday broke the news that Target has signed a lease for its smallest store ever. The 20,000 sf retail space is in an under-construction mixed-use development in the Dinkytown neighboorhood of Minneapolis. This summer, Target will roll out its first “Target Express” store at the site. At about a tenth the size of a typical Super Target, the Target Express will be the first of kind, and will feature a mix of grocery, pharmacy, and basic home goods.
The experiment with smaller stores is part of an effort by Target to have a bigger presence in urban areas. According to John Griffith, Target’s vice president of property development, Target wants to remain convenient as more people decide to live in cities rather than suburbs. Mr. Griffith pointed out that many shoppers “grew up with a Target experience. Now, they show up at their cool little bungalow they’re redoing, they’re close to downtown, and yet Target is a little bit of an effort to get to.”
The location was chosen in part to capture on the surround University of Minnesota student market. However, Target also wanted something close to theird downtown Minneapolis headquarters, which will allow the company to easily monitor and experiment with the new concept prior to rolling out additional locations.
Target is somewhat late to the game in introducing a smaller urban format store concept. Major competitor Wal-Mart opened is first small-format “Wal-Mart Express” in 2011. It has since opened a handful of smaller-format stores that experiment with a variety of sizes, ranging from 40,000 sf “neighborhood markets” to a 3,700 sf location near the University of Missouri. Until now, Target’s smallest format has been CityTarget, stores that range from about 80,000 to 125,000 square feet.