If it seems like new mini-Target stores are going to be opening all over Philadelphia, that's because they are.
On Wednesday the company announced that its sixth "small-format" Target would open at Lincoln Square in South Philadelphia in October 2018. The 36,000-square-foot store at Broad Street and Washington Avenue continues an aggressive urban expansion. Three small Targets have opened since 2016, and another three are coming.
The South Philly location is among 100 small-format stores Target plans to open throughout major U.S. cities in the next three years.
Thirty of the 100 will open this year, in such places as Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. In addition, Target will open seven small campus stores, including at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, this year.
The company already runs 38 large Targets in the Philadelphia area, spokeswoman Kristy Welker said.
The smaller urban stores represent the firm's latest effort to "meet the unique wants and needs of local guests in each Philadelphia neighborhood," she said.
Indeed, "smaller stores are critical for Target to broaden the brand," said Charles O'Shea, lead retail analyst at Moody's. The new Targets "improve its online business as they serve as pickup points for orders, as well as get the company footing in densely populated areas where real estate is hard to come by for a larger-format store."
The latest to open was a 47,000-square-foot Target, which debuted last month at the Ivy Ridge Shopping Center at 7162 Ridge Ave.
The next Target is set to open in October in the 32,000-square-foot former Whole Foods space in the Art Museum area.
A location at Fifth and Spring Garden Streets is projected to open in July 2018, followed by the Broad and Washington location. The exact opening days are still to be determined.
"The Fifth and Spring Garden location serves as a main artery to serve the growing neighborhoods of Northern Liberties and Fishtown," said Steve Niggeman, executive vice president at Metro Commercial, which handled all six deals for Target. Heavy traffic "combined with the area's booming growth and ample surface parking make it the ideal location for Target."
"This is the most number of flexible-format stores we have brokered for Target in an urban area," said Tom Londres, president and CEO of Metro Commercial. "Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods, each with distinct needs and preferences, making Target's small-format concept ideal for this city."
The company plans to roll out a small-format Target in Manhattan at Herald Square in October 2017, as well as two more in Brooklyn this year.
Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics Inc., which tracks the retail industry, said, "Large-format store openings in suburban areas are, for the most part, a thing of the past. Suburban consumers are rapidly transitioning to mobile shopping with free delivery eliminating the need for further big-box openings.
"Secondly, many urban areas are underserved by discount stores," Perkins said. "Often, there are food deserts for fresh produce and grab-and-go items that Target hopes to fill. Third ... millennials, while starting to move to the 'burbs, are still predominantly an urban generation that is underserved."
Perkins said Target is carefully stocking each new location. The Tribeca store in New York City is in a neighborhood with a large population of young families and will carry more infant, youth, and healthy categories, while campus stores will carry more home furnishings, office, and food-to-go selections.