Target Corp. “absolutely” has interest in opening smaller-format stores in Boston following last July’s debut of what CEO Brian Cornell labeled one of the “crown jewels” of the retailer’s portfolio — its 160,000-square-foot, urban-tailored location near Fenway Park.
“Absolutely lots and lots of interest,” Cornell said yesterday at the Boston College Chief Executives Club luncheon, where he was the keynote speaker. “Boston is one of the markets where we’re placing a really big bet.”
Boston is a priority market for expansion for the Minneapolis-based chain, along with New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, according to Cornell. “We’ve been looking across the city,” he said. “Our real estate teams come to Boston on a regular basis.”
Target is preparing to open a 16,000-square-foot Brookline store in July and a two-level, 21,000-square-foot store in Cambridge’s Central Square in July 2017.
The majority of its new stores will be the smaller, flexible-format urban stores where Target has product selections tailored to local markets, while offering its full line on the Web and available for pickup at those stores.
The chain is focusing on smaller formats to get closer to its customers, who no longer are just suburban moms driving minivans. Today’s typical customers are living in the city, and whole families have a say in the shopping, Cornell said.
Still, while 90 percent of consumers’ pur- chases are done at physical stores, Target and all retailers have to “embrace digital” and modernize their supply chains to meet the expectations of “on-demand” con- sumers, Cornell said, pointing to the growth of online shopping and customers using smartphones to make purchases.
That includes “ship-to-store” capabilities and using stores as fulfillment centers, which Target started about a year ago.
“We certainly think that’s a huge advantage for us,” Cornell said. “It’s a core part of supply chain re-engineering.”