As the clock ticks down to Target’s newest smaller-format store opening in Philadelphia — this time in the Art Museum area at 7 a.m. Wednesday — Lina Je said she’s ready.
“With a Whole Foods on the corner, and now a Target, my wallet is bracing for impact,” she joked as she peeked inside the glass doors on a chilly Monday night. “I’m thinking of doing Happy Hour at Whole Foods with its bar and wine section, and then heading over here for some shopping.”
Je belongs to the Philadelphia Sports Club, a gym beside the new Target at 2001 Pennsylvania Ave. Nearby are the Barnes Foundation, the Rodin Museum, and a slew of restaurants.
Such demographics and amenities are what attracted Target, said Samir Shah, its senior vice president of stores. The Art Museum store will have a formal opening at 8 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 22. But shoppers can shop starting Wednesday.
“Philadelphia is a city Target has prioritized for growth because we see potential to serve so many different neighborhoods,” Shah added.
The new store will be Target’s third small-format location in Center City and fourth in the area, following debuts in Washington Square West, Rittenhouse Square, and Roxborough.
“I heard rumors it was going to be a Target months ago,” said Je, 25, a Korean interpreter, who lives at 20th and Green Streets, less than two blocks away. “I thought to myself, `Why would they open a third one in Center City?’ ”
But it won’t be the last one.
In April the company announced at least two more mini-Targets are coming:
One at Fifth and Spring Garden Streets is projected to open in July 2018 to serve booming Northern Liberties and Fishtown, followed by another one at Broad Street and Washington Avenue, called the Lincoln Square shopping center, in South Philadelphia in October 2018.
They are among 130 small-format stores Target plans to open throughout major U.S. cities by 2019.
|Michael P. Niemira, chief economist at The Retail Economist, LLC, predicted the urban migration of stores like Target will continue.
“Retailers always will follow the population and that shift has been due to the shift back to urban areas,” he said. “The urban offerings tend to be more edited to that consumer too, and will likely be multilevel stores, which may be old department store locations purposed back to retail.”
New stores will also serve as pickup locations for online orders. Target already has 39 large Targets in the region.
“There is one relatively undiscovered country in big-box retail — older urban areas,” said Craig Johnson, president of research firm Customer Growth Partners in New Canaan, Ct.
Steve Niggeman, executive vice president at Metro Commercial, which handled all six city deals for Target, said all “have a direct relationship with the neighborhoods. The Art Museum location, for instance, provides Target with the access and availability to penetrate this market.”
In mid-August, Target began hiring for 75 positions for the new store. Some new hires were logging late hours this week to get the new store ready for its debut. Starting tomorrow, the store will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday; and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.
This new Target “will offer our guests a quick-trip to grab the necessities,” said Nora Kelly, store team leader, during a walk-through Monday. She said the store has an expanded fresh product market and apparel for men, women and children, and a bigger home decor selection than other mini-Targets in Center City since it is bigger.
Household essentials accounted for 22 percent of last year’s sales of $69.5 million; followed by 22 percent from food, beverage and pet supplies; and 20 percent from apparel and accessories. The company’s stock closed at $60.15 on Tuesday, down 1.15 percent.
The Art Museum store will feature a small in-house Starbucks and CVS Pharmacy, like the others.
Even as temperatures dipped Monday night, the new Target attracted onlookers who peeked through the glass, asking “When will it open?”
One curious onlooker was Carol Hauptfuhrer, 70, of Fairmount. “We welcome it,” she said. “It will serve the neighborhood well.”