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    Food Expansion Prominent in Target's Growth Plans

    MINNEAPOLIS -- Target Corp.'s plans for sales growth in the next few years apparently include competing more directly with supermarkets for the food dollar.

    MINNEAPOLIS -- Target Corp.'s plans for sales growth in the next few years apparently include competing more directly with supermarkets for the food dollar.

    The mass merchant with flair, based here and operating 1,502 stores in 47 states, said during an analysts' conference yesterday that it intends to grow to 2,000 units by 2011, and in that in those 2,000 stores food will play a bigger role, via a bigger assortment designed to lure shoppers into more frequent routine visits.

    The chain also reiterated its earnings expectations for the current fiscal year, and added it's seeing no adverse impact on its credit card business from difficulties in the subprime mortgage market.

    Target said it has increased selling space for a supermarket-centric offering of food, HBC and baby care. The chain also said store brands are a prominent component of its strategy to become a more potent player in grabbing sales and store visits.

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