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A new look for food


Standard operating procedures were in effect this weekend, as Target observed the grand opening of 23 new stores with one big exception. Many of the stores were anything but standard, with 17 of the discount units featuring expanded fresh food offerings. At one of those stores, a 135,000-sq.-ft. unit in Spring Hill, Fla., a young man at the entrance asked customers this weekend if they would like a map of the store and offered, “We have groceries.” The presence of groceries was reinforced with a colorful sign on a floor stand near the entrance that urged customers to, “Add fresh to your list. We carry fresh fruits, veggies, meats and baked goods. How deliciously convenient.”

The convenience claim is a little suspect, but the offering and presentation of products is impressive and undoubtedly left many of those who visited the store with the impression it was a SuperTarget. A colorful overhead sign with the words, “fresh grocery,” clearly identified the department, which is visible from all the way across the front of the building and the entrance where customers initially enter into the apparel department.

Moving toward the rear of the building from the fresh area is a sizable assortment of dry grocery and consumable products merchandised on roughly two dozen 28-foot gondola runs. The short gondola runs make it easy for customers to move up and down the aisles, but the biggest shortcoming from a convenience standpoint is that the store has a single entrance and it is on the opposite side of the store from food. Okay, maybe that’s not a big issue, but conventional supermarkets provide a more convenient experience and supercenters typically have two entrances so customers can enter on the food side of the store.

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