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Co-founder of Target dies at 88


New York -- The co-founder of Target, Douglas Dayton, died Saturday after a long battle with cancer. He was 88.

With his four brothers, Dayton took over and reshaped the Dayton Co., which was founded by their grandfather, George Draper Dayton, as Dayton’s department store in Minneapolis.

When the company in 1961 formed the discount chain called Target, Dayton became president. Dayton served as Target's first president in 1961, and when the company merged with department store chain J.L. Hudson Co in 1969, he became senior VP. After spending several years in the position, Dayton retired in 1974 and founded a venture capital firm that he ran until his retirement in 1994.

The groundwork Dayton laid for the Target helped establish a brand identity and unique value proposition that the retailer to flourish. Eventually, Target stores overtook the company’s conventional department store businesses which were sold to Macy’s and the corporation was renamed Target in 2000.

"Along with his brothers and cousin, Doug was instrumental in helping to guide the strategic direction of Dayton Hudson Corporation for many years and institutionalize the values that are at the heart of Target Corporation today," Target said in a statement.

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