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Bull’s-Eye, Again

By staying true to its innovation-driven/design-oriented culture, Target has become the first-ever two-time winner of the VMSD/Peter Glen Retailer of the Year Award




DESPITE THE GROWTH of omnichannel retailing, Target Corp. (Minneapolis) says its stores remain at the center of everything it does. And central to creating an environment that’s attractive to today’s tech-savvy shoppers is the design of those stores.

“At Target, we’re continually innovating our store design to make our shopping experience even easier, safer and full of joy,” explains Joe Perdew, VP Store Design. “With our stores at the heart of every Target run, we’ll keep evolving our approach to create a fun and welcoming environment for our guests that will meet their needs for years to come.”

Such sentiments help explain why Target has again been named the VMSD/Peter Glen Retailer of the Year. The first time was 20 years ago in 2001, which was also the first year the award was given.

Here’s what then-VMSD editor (and now contributing writer) Steve Kaufman told the audience at the inaugural International Retail Design Conference about why Target won that award in 2001:

“The common theme of what we all do here is ‘design,’ and we wanted to award the retailer that honored design and incorporated the values of design in all aspects of identifying, creating and supporting its brand. That retailer is Target.”

Joining 800-plus stores that have already been updated, Target plans to remodel at least 140 more stores this year.

Joining 800-plus stores that have already been updated, Target plans to remodel at least 140 more stores this year.


At the same time, it was announced that the honor would be called the VMSD/Peter Glen Retailer of the Year Award, in memory of the magazine’s longtime columnist, designer, motivational speaker, lecturer and retail analyst who had died suddenly a few weeks earlier. Since then, the award has been bestowed upon retailers that best exemplify three core values prized by Glen: innovation, service and an emphasis on critical thinking about customers’ needs.

Target’s continued allegiance to those attributes is in evidence today through a variety of initiatives, including:

  • More Openings/Renos: Last year, during a global pandemic, the retailer opened 30 new stores across different areas including urban areas, dense suburban neighborhoods and college campuses, and also expanded its existing presence in major markets across the country. As this story went to press, Target had already opened 20 new stores thus far in 2021, with plans to open another dozen by year-end. (In all, it has just over 1900 stores.) As for renovations, 140 such remodels are planned for this year, joining the 800-plus stores that have already been upgraded in the past four years.
  • Shopping-experience enhancements: This includes expanded and upgraded guest services, order pick-up and drive-up areas. And in remodeled stores, guests experience “top-to-bottom makeovers, including modern decor and fixtures, dynamic and engaging merchandise displays and specialty LED lighting to create a shopping experience that is warm, inviting and inspirational,” says Perdew. “We’ve also added nursing rooms to make shopping at Target even easier for new parents.”
  • More Shops-in-Shops: At a growing number of its locales, the retailer has introduced new specialty experiences, showcasing favorite products from such customer magnets as Apple, Disney and Ulta Beauty.
  • Local touches: Guests at select stores may see locally sourced wood in the guest services areas, as well as pieces of locally designed art, from murals behind the registers to installations on exterior walls. The idea, the retailer says, is to create a welcoming, inclusive environment.
  • New operating model for workers: This involves creating specialized roles to give teams expertise, empowerment and a sense of ownership. At the same time, the retailer found opportunities to train its specialists in other areas – like teaching a hardlines expert how to fulfill an online order – to help them build skills beyond their specialized position. Such investments add flexibility to Target’s operation, enabling its team to quickly adapt to fast-changing environments, execute well and play an essential role in its communities.
  • Increased emphasis on health and safety: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the retailer has worked to make such concerns a top priority. “Through our store design, we’ve made front-of-store revisions that promote guest and team member safety, including Plexiglas barriers and larger spaces between checkout lanes,” Perdew said. “We also added touchless restroom fixtures and hand sanitizing stations.”
During the pandemic, Target opened a variety of formats, ranging from big box to smaller stores near university campuses.

During the pandemic, Target opened a variety of formats, ranging from big box to smaller stores near university campuses.

All of these initiatives (and more) have had a positive impact on the retailer’s bottom line. In its second quarter 2021 financial results, the most recent available, the company reported increases in both sales and profitability on top of record growth a year ago.

That performance, says Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell, “reinforces Target’s leadership position in retail. We’ve spent years building and investing in the durable model we have today, which is supported by a differentiated strategy and the best team in retail.”

Were he still with us, Peter Glen would almost certainly agree (once again).

📷: Courtesy of Target


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