The aisles are wide, but shorter than Walmart's aisles for one. Displays are simple and at least in women's apparel the racks are arranged in "neighborhoods" so that one steps easily from juniors to misses to women's and maternity "departments." The dressing room is tucked away in a private corner between the men's and women's departments. There's no loud public address system or piped in music to interrupt one's revery while shopping. In "my" Target, there are no self-checkout aisles.
I've not purchased clothing for myself from Target though my girls like the options there. I have purchased one pair of suede wedge pumps and last fall I sprang for two Gilligan & O'Malley bras a week before I won a giveaway from AsheMischief for a new Playtex.
Target is the second-largest retailer in the U.S. behind Walmart. It grew out of the Minnesota based Dayton Dry Goods Company beginning it's expansion in 1968 to St. Louis. Dayton's strategy was to buy up department stores and to re-open as a discount retailer believing that it offered more upscale, trend-forward merchandise at lower costs. I was interested to learn that Target attracts younger and more educated and affluent customers than Walmart. The median shopper is 41 years old, with a household income roughly $63,000. Seventy-six percent of their customers are female. Eighty percent have attended college and 48% have completed college. An astounding 97% of American consumers recognize the Target Bullseye logo.
Target sells more gift cards than any other retailer in the United States though I don't think I've ever purchased one. It was curious to discover that some of their gift card designs are patented and are also collectors items. Have any of you seen the scratch and sniff card or the one that glows in the dark or the one that records a voice message?
They also offer a REDcard, either in debit or credit form, which grants shoppers a 5% savings in store and online as well as free shipping on all Target.com purchases. One percent of the purchases registered to this card are donated to the eligible K-12 school of your choice.
I have worried that my project was too centered on the continental United States. Target in recent years has expanded to India, Hawaii, and in 2013 it will open 100-150 stores in Canada. And this year, it intends to open urban, multi-level stores in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. I wonder if my readers have visited any of the existing multi-level stores in the Bronx or Brooklyn, San Diego, Seattle, Washington, D.C, Atlanta, Miami, or New Orleans. I'm especially curious about the green roof stores in Chicago. I know that some stores in my area are full-line groceries though I have avoided them because the parking is a nightmare.
Target, unlike Walmart, does not sell guns or tobacco. During the holidays, you will not be solicited by a Salvation Army bell-ringer though Target ranks as one of the most philanthropic companies in the US. I know that in my area, unused, returned or seasonal merchandise is donated to the Goodwill; I've purchased Target product there. And in addition to Nascar sponsorships, it hosts free admissions to art museums in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
Target has been open to some of the criticisms of other big box stores: it contributes to suburban sprawl; it offers low prices for poor work conditions; it has sold products outlawed by the Environmental Protection Agency. It was a Target pharmacist who refused to dispense the Plan B emergency contraceptive in 2005. It has made political contributions that have been controversial in the LGBT community.
I didn't spend a penny on any of my trips, but there was a pair of canvas boat shoes, a swim suit, a striped dress, and a delicious chambray maternity shirt that did give me pause.