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Summer in the city takes on new meaning

Hiring is set to get underway soon for new CityTarget stores slated to open this summer in Seattle, Chicago and Los Angles, according to published reports.

The Puget Sound Business Journal this week said hiring was set to begin for the new CityTarget store located in The Newmark Tower at Second Avenue and Pike Street. The store is due to open in July, along with the Los Angeles and Chicago locations, and will require a staff of about 200 people that will be hired in May. Later this year, a CityTarget will debut in San Francisco and a second location will arrive in Los Angeles.

Early reports regarding the CityTarget characterized the concept as a small format, which it really isn’t. Ranging in size from 80,000-sq.-ft. to 100,000-sq.-ft., CityTarget can hardly be described as small, even though it is smaller than a conventional 135,000-sq.-ft. Target discount store or an 186,000-sq.-ft. SuperTarget. In fact, it is curious to hear CityTarget described as a small format because the stores will actually be comparable in size to the standard discount stores the company was opening in suburban locations 20 or more years ago.

Nevertheless, the CityTarget stores will be an interesting experiment and much will be learned about the appropriateness of the size, the return on investment they generate given the cost of real estate in high density markets and the optimal assortment for an urban location serving a high percentage of customers who are likely to arrive on foot or via public transportation. Such a traffic pattern would seem to suggest more frequent visits, smaller transaction sizes and supply chain challenges associated with replenishing high velocity goods, but shoppers have a way of making those who make assumptions look foolish which is why enduring success in retail is only achieved by those who experiment relentlessly. Speaking of which, a more interesting experiment would be to see what Target is capable of inside a truly small box, say 50,000-sq.-ft. or less.

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