Target hit a low point of sorts this week as the opening of 10 new stores rounded out a 2010 expansion program that saw the company open just 13 units. The addition of five new stores in the Califonia cities of Sacramento, Simi Valley, Bakersfield, San Jose and Azusa gives the company a total of 249 units in the Golden State, or slightly more than 14% of the company’s 1,753 stores. In addition to California, other new stores are located in Salt Lake City, Utah, Little Rock, Ark., Christiana, Del., Flushing N.Y. and Braintree, Mass. Each of the discount stores are in the Pfresh format and feature the expanded food and fresh departments and upgraded presentations in other key departments. Other new store openings this year included locations in Malvern, Pa, Chicago and Manhattan.
This year’s limited number of openings is a far cry from prior years when Target was among the most aggressive companies when it came to expansion. The company opened 118 stores in 2007 and 114 in 2008, but as the recession loomed it began to curtail growth plans and opened 76 stores in 2009. The slow pace of activity seen this year isn’t expected to last long as already there are 20 to 30 new units slated to open in 2012. The pace of expansion beyond next year is unclear, but Target in the past has indicated the potential for as many as 3,000 units in the United States, which implies new store expansion could return to prerecession levels at some point in the future.