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    Target Second Only to Wal-Mart as Most-Shopped U.S. Retailer: Study

    COLUMBUS, July 12, 2006 -- Target is the most-shopped retailer in the United States--except for Wal-Mart, that is, according to ShopperScape consumer research conducted by Retail Forward based here.

    COLUMBUS, July 12, 2006 -- Target is the most-shopped retailer in the United States--except for Wal-Mart, that is, according to ShopperScape consumer research conducted by Retail Forward based here.

    While Target continues to attract shoppers with its cheap chic "trend-right fashion apparel and homegoods," Retail Forward said the channel leader has yet to master its food offerings in a way that draws shoppers frequently, and thus still lags behind its supercenter rival as a weekly shopping destination.

    In its latest Shopper Update report, "Bull's-eye on the Target Shopper," Retail Forward assesses recent consumer research from its monthly ShopperScape online survey to develop a profile of the Target shopper. "Target attracts a desirable shopper niche-young affluent families typically cushioned from economic fluctuations such as high gas prices and inflation-which is helping to buoy the company's performance," comments Sandy Skrovan, Retail Forward's v.p. and manager of the company's new Target Program and author of the report.

    One quarter of all U.S. primary household shoppers visit a Target, Target Greatland, or SuperTarget store monthly. More shoppers are going to Target than are visiting other entire retail channels, e.g., value department stores and traditional mall-based department stores monthly.

    However, because Target's geographic coverage is not as pervasive as Wal-Mart, it draws much less shopper traffic on a regular basis than does Wal-Mart.

    "But, a different story emerges when we look at just the biggest markets where Target has its greatest presence," says Skrovan. Despite marketing efforts to promote Target also as a place to go for everyday household basics, just 8 percent of primary household shoppers make a weekly trip to Target vs. 32 percent for Wal-Mart.

    While Target still doesn't beat Wal-Mart, the retailer ranks relatively high vis-à-vis its peer group competitors on the retailer "stickiness" scorecard, which Skrovan says means that Target's guests keep coming back for more. Two-thirds of Target's past six-month customer base returns to its stores on a regular basis.

    Merchandise categories that capture the most overall interest of Target shoppers are children's apparel, decorative home fashions, small housewares and appliances, and toys. While Target is gaining favor with shoppers across some apparel categories, personal care products, small personal appliances, sporting goods and toys, ShopperScape results show that the retailer is losing share of shopper preference in books, consumer electronics, pre-recorded music/CDs and videos/DVDs, and soft home fashions.

    Target's share of preference barely registers in most grocery categories.

    Target and Wal-Mart share many of the same shoppers. "It stands to reason that up-market families as well as young singles and couples regularly shop Target for the fun trendy apparel and general merchandise, but also frequent Wal-Mart for the basics," Skrovan says, adding that "it works the other way too."

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