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Women make wilk, big whop!

May 28th, 2003

Target Food

Target, which is my large discount retailer of choice, is going to be selling more food. What’s being sacrificed to fit in this stuff? Men’s clothes, automotive supplies, home improvement supplies, and sporting goods.

It’s kind of like a mini-Super Target in every store. And from that wacky marketing and business perspective of mine, I’m not entirely sure it’ll work. It’s nice to think that I can go to Target and buy a camcorder, film, a shirt, some eggs, and a taco… sure. Grocery and local food stores are nice, though.

I have been in exactly one Super Target ever, and it was very odd to walk from the bedding section to the pasta sauce section. But if Target does do “fashionable” foods, as the article linked suggests, it might be able to pull this off right. Otherwise, it’ll be Wal-Mart or nothin’.

Posted in Miscellaneous

FROM: jk
DATE: Wednesday May 28, 2003 -- 9:56:12 am
A light bulb goes off in jk's head: are you in the Twin Cities area or just incredibly well-read??

FROM: jk
DATE: Wednesday May 28, 2003 -- 10:08:02 am
I think Target would do a fine job with a grocery section. I have always been frightened by the deli at our local Wal Mart. Wait, I was frightened by the people behind the counter and didn't want them touching my food.

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday May 28, 2003 -- 11:19:08 am
I disagree. Target is in a tough spot, no doubt, in battling with the Wal-Marts. Still, Target seems to fancy itself as a K-Mart with more style, with the variety of products and fashon lines.

When in Virginia, the nearby Target was a "Super Target"..and you know what? The prices were horrible. Just because you charge 5 bucks more for a sweater at Target doesn't mean that people would pay more to go out of their way to food shop there. If anything learned from Wal-Mart, your food prices have to be a good deal lower than the supermarkets to give the consumer a reason to change. Just saying "Hey, Do Your Food Shopping at Target!" isn't reason enough.

We'll see what this means, but personally, what I have seen of the Target Food Shopping experience was underwhelming. If I want food at a Target, I'll get a hot dog from the snack bar. (Umm...maybe not..that snack bar usually looks pretty gross.)

FROM: Chris [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday May 28, 2003 -- 12:13:28 pm
I agree with Dave. Groceries are the ultimate commodity and Target is not in the commodity business. I think its a bad move for them.

We have one of those super Wal-Marts near us, and the crowd there is just one more in a long list of reasons to avoid Wal-Mart whenever possible.

DATE: Wednesday May 28, 2003 -- 12:49:42 pm
Looks like it could be interesting, but will it really draw people there? Super Targets have a large selection, but regular Target stores won't be able to stock a wide enough variety of food will they? It seems like going to a dedicated supermarket would be better if one was going to do some serious food shopping. It's convenient but everyone I know (poor college students) goes to Wal-Mart instead.

Still, if there are fashionable foods then maybe they would be alright. I just have no idea what kinds of foods they'd be considering as "fashionable" (Ketchups in colors that don't clash? Trendy milk? Soho chicken wings? Loft-style corn?) . Good luck, Target

FROM: Greg
DATE: Wednesday May 28, 2003 -- 3:34:53 pm
There are exactly 6 (maybe more) large grocery chains in the Chicagoland area. Add to it the online grocers and there are plenty of grocery stores. Why would Target want to enter into this already saturated market? It didn't work for K-Mart.

FROM: jk
DATE: Wednesday May 28, 2003 -- 5:39:42 pm
Poeple around here just love Target so much, and we are often shopping with limited time, so I do think that Target could appeal to its existing customers who already live at the store. I don't have any friends who get their groceries at Wal Mart simply because it's a hassle to shop there and wait in one of 6 open lines despite the fact that they have 88 registers.

FROM: denise
DATE: Wednesday May 28, 2003 -- 8:58:48 pm
raven is cool she is the one i want to be like when i grow up

FROM: denise
DATE: Wednesday May 28, 2003 -- 9:00:30 pm
target is cool

FROM: dave
DATE: Wednesday May 28, 2003 -- 9:31:14 pm
Anything that takes away from Wal-Mart's market share is OK by me.

Selling groceries is a little different than selling other goods. A grocery store typically defines its market area by simply drawing a 2 to 3 mile radius circle around the store. Any decent grocery operation could do well if it locates properly and keeps its prices and selection competitive.

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday May 28, 2003 -- 9:35:59 pm
A different perspective for you --

A problem I had the few times I
tried food shopping at Target..
no one was around to help, or
ask questions. For me, I'd rather drive to the supermarket, get
better service, and pay a little bit

At least Wal-Mart and their food departments usually had plenty of staff on hand to help customers. Food Targets, so far, havent had that.

FROM: towinlovinit
DATE: Friday May 30, 2003 -- 1:13:28 am
I like shopping at Target for those wonderful stuff like cd's, clothes, etc. but when it comes to shopping for food, no way at Target, I go to Winco and save more there than ANYWHERE!

FROM: Marcus Mackey
DATE: Thursday June 5, 2003 -- 4:53:17 am
I think Target is missing the boat. The only way to survive is to "NOT" go into a direct competition with Wal Mart by being just another Wal Mart/KMart clone. Cheap products... yes, that's always good, but quality products and a nice user experience; that's the key that makes Target what it is... and while you pay a premium (as Dave mentioned earlier), you get what you pay for in product, and only if your sales people can understand the product. Spread yourself too thin by taking on too much product, and not having enough service people or people to keep up with product... and it's a sure fire way to eat up a lot of $ that could be invested into making a "BETTER" Target demographic experience, not fusing a Target with a grocery store and trying to be a jack of all trades... but a master of none.

How Target translates to food is beyond me?!? I mean, if I were to get better quality meats, pastas, etc. etc. that's one thing. Yet Target's food aisles are just like what you're going to see at Wal Marts, Meijer's, and KMart (Big K or Super K)... with the exception of an added price cost because it's Target (image) and they're not going to sell in the same volume.

To me, Target has better product on average (much like Circuit City carries better product 9 times out of 10 to Best Buy), and a nicer, cheerier user experience than Wal Mart. Then again, Wal Mart is in the same realm as Best Buy largely by providing x amount of product for an ultra-low pricetag (although you have to watch what you buy... as always, some is higher and some is lower than you can get elsewhere) and doing it by serving you with people making at or near minimum wage. By the very nature of it being a low, low, low cost store that provides product at bargain pricings beating all but your local dollar store (and still offering at least namebrands)... you're going to get damn near crap for customer service 9 times out of 10. That's before you consider that some of the brands that Wal Mart and KMart carry are brands that "NOBODY" has ever heard of, and quite often... there's a reason because of that. At least Wal Mart is better than KMart in this regard on average... but... compared to Target which is savvy enough to have made it's own productlines (think Sears with Craftsman, Kenmore, etc. etc.) that speak of quality... Wal Mart and KMart rely less on quality productlines and more on selling a lot of cheaply made product at cheap prices... and that's where Target has an advantage.

So to me... adding food to the roster isn't the thing to make Target better. To me Target is like a hybrid of Kohl's/JC Penney's and KMart/Wal Mart. They're not as pricy as Kohl's or Penney's, but you're getting a nicer product than what you'll find at a typical Wal Mart. Granted, it'll cost more... but you're not walking through Sam Walton's big concrete pile of trash (go to the Forest Park store to see it at it's all-time low) to rummage pick through products made in Bangladesh that actually "LOOK" like they were made there.

The only way to beat Wal Mart at their own game... is to add the things they don't have, rather than play monkey-see, monkey-do. GMC in GM's product range got a reputation for "higher quality" when it's really just a rebadged/re-styled Chevy pickup. There's "NO" difference and one isn't anymore "Industrial" than the other. Yet, GMC garnered this image by public perception and it's stuck so well that GM is playing off of it. Target should do the same... as they have a lot of unique "chic" product that few if any of the other stores carry. They're like "The Sharper Image" of low-cost stores.

Yet food is a completely different ballgame... even Wal Mart struggles to compare with Jewel (owned by Albertsen's) and Dominick's in our area, simply because you're going to get a better grocery shopping experience at those 2. Granted... neither is as nice as Big Bear (had one near my apartment in Columbus, OH when I was at OSU) IMHO, especially since Dominick's sold out to Sav-on; but... the fact is, it'd take a moronic level of blunders to render any of the major grocery stores obsolete compared to Wal Mart. Even Kroger or IGA couldn't screw up that bad!

So food at Target... they should stick to what they have already, which is common simple snacks... less attempting to be Jewel or Dominick's or Piggly Wiggly or any of the major grocery chains (like Wal Mart is), and instead be more like a Target with a White Hen/7-Eleven inside.

As far as gross cafeteria food...

I agree 100% Dave.

If anything, sign on a deal with a major fast food place to replace their homespun food courts, just like Wal Mart did with McDonald's and KMart with Little Caesar's... but use some common sense with it. Target doesn't need a Burger King for it's image it's trying to uphold. Target would be better be served with something like a Boston Market or Quizno's or Chipotle or Baja Fresh. Play off the tiering of product... it's not as high priced as a Kohl's or Penney's... but it's not as cheap or lackluster in store presentation as a Wal Mart or KMart.

FROM: Isaac
DATE: Friday February 24, 2006 -- 5:21:30 pm
Just to update, for awhile, Target has revamped "Food Avenue Restaurants" with a partnership with Yum! foods to put Taco Bell Express/Pizza Hut Express in most Target stores, besides for old ones that haven't had an update and still have Food Ave American Grill, Yum! foods has since cut ALL Taco Bell Expresses and therefore Target has decided to stop putting Food Avenue - Taco Bell locations, all Food Avenue - American Grill locations, and just Food Avenue Restaurants in all new/remodled locations and replace them with "Pizza Hut Express" and rename that part of the store "Food Service" in the books because not all stores have been updated, and some stores have such a low volume, they'd go into debt keeping up with Target and Yum! standards of throwing away Pizzas every 20 minutes but always having at least 1-2 of EVERY pizza out and 1-3 packs of breadsticks out at all times, that they just have a Food Service location - nameless, and sell quickbake DiGeorno pizzas. SuperTargets are all equiped with Guest Service phones/buttons! Pick up the phone and press 1 or press the button on the "Need Assistance" box someoen will be there to help you w/in 60 seconds or the store gets a negative mark for not being there to help you, guaranteed. These are in EVERY Target, Target Greatland, and SuperTarget. Take care.

jcb July 26, 2007, 7:34 pm

I asked Target’s CEO via their website who and where, their private label food items are made, and they would not say. They did say that the government does not
require this until 2008.

My feeling is if it was made in Minnesota or the US, Target would have said so.
I asked Mr. Urlich in my email would he give his family something to eat that he
did not know where or who made it?

No response…

Paul July 26, 2007, 8:05 pm

“My feeling is if it was made in Minnesota or the US, Target would have said so.”

Not necessarily. It’s possible (and likely, don’t you think?) that their contracts with their suppliers forbid them from disclosing any information about said suppliers.

In any case, a company as big as Target will generally only do what the law calls for – nothing more.

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