Signs of trouble at Target?

Super S
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Posts: 1565
Joined: April 1st, 2009, 9:27 pm
Has thanked: 5 times
Been thanked: 14 times
Status: Offline

Signs of trouble at Target?

Post by Super S » September 30th, 2013, 9:37 pm

I visited my local (Kelso, WA) Target store today, a store which I only visit occasionally, and noticed a few things that seemed a bit abnormal for a Target store, at least in this area.

First thing I noticed as I walked in the door was that all of the lights at the service desk were turned off, and that they "moved" the service desk to a couple of nearby checkstands, which are the seldom-used express lanes which lack the conveyor belts. This is something I have never seen at any Target, and it made me wonder if there was a lack of business that prompted this. It seems that it would not take long for the express lanes to become cluttered quickly, and also would cause confusion with those checking out. The checkstands were not marked as a service desk, return area, or anything like that. I wasn't clear if there were dedicated service desk employees at the checkstands or if they were regular cashiers. The service desk did still have cash registers.

I also have noticed that this store has not yet been updated. It still retains the older, 4-tube light fixtures with the silver reflectors, instead of the newer, 2-tube fixtures with the white reflectors, which nearly all other Target stores in the area have installed. I also have noticed that this location has the older, colored neon on the walls still, and has not been remodeled into the "pfresh" format.

Worth noting is that nearby Longview now has two Walmart Supercenters, plus a full-line Fred Meyer. Also worth noting is that there is a Safeway across the road. It is also important to note that this Target, a standalone store, is next to the Three Rivers Mall, which has been struggling a lot lately, with a former Emporium space that has sat mostly vacant for ten years, a Sears which closed early this year, and about half of the spaces empty. Although it was announced that Regal Cinemas is going to take over the Sears space, businesses continue to pack up and leave, most recently Big 5 Sporting Goods. One thing this mall has is a very visible location next to Interstate 5, which would make it seem like the mall would do better than it has.

I am trying to figure out if Target has delayed a remodel due to a drop in business, due to a rumored possible redevelopment of the mall, or due to the fact they are considering closing this location. It did receive a remodel around 2002-2003 which added a Pharmacy. It would seem though that they would at least want to keep the store updated even if they decided against adding groceries at this location. It's not like Target to have dated looking stores, and this one just seemed to have an odd vibe to it as I walked through the store. A dated store is one thing, but the service desk thing really made me wonder about this store's future.

Alpha8472
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Posts: 1141
Joined: February 24th, 2009, 8:55 pm
Been thanked: 5 times
Status: Offline

Re: Signs of trouble at Target?

Post by Alpha8472 » October 1st, 2013, 1:35 am

Moving the Customer Service Desk to the express registers is nothing new. Some low volume Target stores in Iowa do this. Apparently, there are so few returns that Target feels that the Customer Service Desk employees do nothing but stand around doing nothing. The company might as well put them to work as regular cashiers rather than pay them to stand around and do nothing.

Many stores do not have a dedicated Customer Service Desk. For example, CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid do returns at the registers and do not have a dedicated Customer Service Desk for returns. Even PetSmart does returns at the regular registers.

My guess is that Target is figuring out that the current Target store is possibly doomed and they don't want to spend money on remodeling the old store right now. They might want to move to the mall and take over a large empty mall space. Or perhaps, they might want to move to a new location and open up a SuperTarget.
Last edited by Alpha8472 on October 2nd, 2013, 10:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Brian Lutz
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Posts: 651
Joined: March 1st, 2009, 5:51 pm
Location: Lake Stevens WA
Been thanked: 5 times
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: Signs of trouble at Target?

Post by Brian Lutz » October 1st, 2013, 2:00 pm

What you're describing seems to indicate an uncertain future for that particular store. A few years ago, the Target at Factoria Mall in Bellevue was in something of a simliar situation. It's a somewhat smaller store than most of the regular ones, and had not been remodeled even when most of the other Target stores in the area had been already. At the time, there were still plans to redevelop the mall, part of which would have been to build a new freestanding Target store in the parking lot to replace that one. Ultimately, when the economy went south the mall's redevelopment plans got significantly scaled back, and when it became clear that the existing store wasn't going anywhere anytime soon it got remodeled to PFresh, and is now in the process of getting its snack bar remodeled (although it's not certain if they're planning to add a Starbucks like many other Targets in the area have.)

Super S
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Posts: 1565
Joined: April 1st, 2009, 9:27 pm
Has thanked: 5 times
Been thanked: 14 times
Status: Offline

Re: Signs of trouble at Target?

Post by Super S » October 1st, 2013, 9:20 pm

Alpha8472 wrote:Moving the Customer Service Desk to the express registers is nothing new. Some low volume Target stores in Iowa do this. Apparently, there are so few returns that Target feels that the Customer Service Desk employees do nothing but stand around doing nothing. The might as well put them to work as regular cashiers rather than pay them to stand around and do nothing.

Many stores do not have a dedicated Customer Service Desk. For example, CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid do returns at the registers and do not have a dedicated Customer Service Desk for returns. Even PetSmart does returns at the regular registers.

My guess is that Target is figuring out that the current Target store is possibly doomed and they don't want to spend money on remodeling the old store right now. They might want to move to the mall and take over a large empty mall space. Or perhaps, they might want to move to a new location and open up a SuperTarget.
A lower volume store like Walgreens or Rite Aid does not justify having a service desk. However, a larger store needs a dedicated desk so that you don't have, on busy days, registers clogged with people making returns, credit payments, merchandise pickups, etc. I have commented on how I have encountered backups in larger JCPenney and Sears stores due to these reasons. People have an expectation to get in and out of a store quickly.

As for moving to the mall, I don't know if it would be feasible at this point. This store technically is part of the mall, an outparcel, but part of the property. The Sears that closed was the largest space in the mall, at 55,000 square feet, and as I mentioned is earmarked for a redevelopment into a new Regal Cinemas theater. The other space, a former Emporium, doesn't have adequate space to provide for a new Target and have adequate parking unless part of the mall itself was demolished, as the store itself isn't even close to big enough. There is a proposed retail development a few miles to the south on I-5, but traffic signals installed as part of a reconstruction of that interchange were recently removed, so that project is at least on hold, if not dead.

storewanderer
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Posts: 4348
Joined: February 23rd, 2009, 3:54 pm
Been thanked: 31 times
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: Signs of trouble at Target?

Post by storewanderer » December 1st, 2013, 11:04 am

I noticed the Carson City, NV Target has closed its customer service area and moved it to checkstand 1.

This store opened in 1995 or so and has not received one bit of money. It still has neon running around the entire wall perimeter, the department signs are white background with black lettering and departments are "color coded." I think many of the shopping carts and hand baskets are even original to when it opened. It is a very low volume store.

Alpha8472
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Posts: 1141
Joined: February 24th, 2009, 8:55 pm
Been thanked: 5 times
Status: Offline

Re: Signs of trouble at Target?

Post by Alpha8472 » January 28th, 2014, 2:56 am

Target is eliminating 475 workers at its headquarters and elsewhere in Minnesota. Another 700 vacant positions have been eliminated in the past 6 months. The cuts come after a weak holiday season impacted by the theft of credit card payment information. The company is also getting rid of insurance for part time workers in anticipation of the Affordable Care Act. Why pay for insurance when workers can buy their own insurance or get a government subsidy?

Super S
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Posts: 1565
Joined: April 1st, 2009, 9:27 pm
Has thanked: 5 times
Been thanked: 14 times
Status: Offline

Re: Signs of trouble at Target?

Post by Super S » May 19th, 2014, 8:17 am

Yesterday, I was with a friend in Hillsboro, Oregon, and we decided to stop at the Target there. The store was up to date, and seemed busier than many that I have been to recently (possibly due to Walmart's relatively weak presence in the Portland area). However, I did notice that the restaurant (which I believe was a generic Target restaurant instead of Pizza hut, Starbucks, etc.) was closed. While this is not unusual in the evening hours, I find it strange that it was closed in the middle of the day on a Sunday afternoon when the store was busy. It looked like it was still operational to me as it still had a cash register, pop dispensers, menu board, etc. but had all of the lights turned off. Target has actually been pretty consistent in having restaurants of some sort in most if not all of their stores, and I have to wonder if this is yet another cost cutting move.

Are the locations that are Pizza Hut, Starbucks, etc. run by Target or are they independent franchises?

Brian Lutz
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Posts: 651
Joined: March 1st, 2009, 5:51 pm
Location: Lake Stevens WA
Been thanked: 5 times
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: Signs of trouble at Target?

Post by Brian Lutz » May 19th, 2014, 11:22 am

I don't know about the Starbucks portion of it, but the snack bar portion is operated by Target employees (my brother worked at the local Target for a while in the food court.) The Pizza Hut stuff is just something they happen to sell, and comprises only a small portion of the menu.

I don't typically shop on Sundays, but in general the snack bar has shorter hours than the rest of the store (typically it closes an hour before store closing.) It's possible they could just not open it on Sundays for one reason or another.

BillyGr
Diamond Member
Diamond Member
Posts: 400
Joined: October 5th, 2010, 7:33 pm
Status: Offline

Re: Signs of trouble at Target?

Post by BillyGr » May 20th, 2014, 10:41 am

Super S wrote:Yesterday, I was with a friend in Hillsboro, Oregon, and we decided to stop at the Target there. The store was up to date, and seemed busier than many that I have been to recently (possibly due to Walmart's relatively weak presence in the Portland area). However, I did notice that the restaurant (which I believe was a generic Target restaurant instead of Pizza hut, Starbucks, etc.) was closed. While this is not unusual in the evening hours, I find it strange that it was closed in the middle of the day on a Sunday afternoon when the store was busy. It looked like it was still operational to me as it still had a cash register, pop dispensers, menu board, etc. but had all of the lights turned off. Target has actually been pretty consistent in having restaurants of some sort in most if not all of their stores, and I have to wonder if this is yet another cost cutting move.

Are the locations that are Pizza Hut, Starbucks, etc. run by Target or are they independent franchises?
I remember reading that the Starbucks have sometimes not honored Starbucks company promotions and have also offered other deals/specials via Target's site, so that seems to lead to them being Target owned rather than independent.

Perhaps if this store still has a kind of "generic" snack bar could it have been closed in preparation for an upgrade to one of the more fancy ones?
I know they did that with one of the stores here (at the same time they added the P-Fresh) and that was the only one I can think of in the area that didn't already have either Pizza Hut or Starbucks items. In that one they converted the space to Starbucks (it still offers some Target items, but the decor makes it look primarily like Starbucks) as opposed to the others that have just the Pizza Hut w/snackbar or separate PizzaHut/Snackbar and Starbucks counters.

Brian Lutz
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Posts: 651
Joined: March 1st, 2009, 5:51 pm
Location: Lake Stevens WA
Been thanked: 5 times
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: Signs of trouble at Target?

Post by Brian Lutz » May 20th, 2014, 10:47 am

http://www.komonews.com/news/business/T ... 67731.html

Target has just fired the president of their underperforming Canadian operations, and has replaced him with Mark Schindle, previously the senior VP of merchandising operations who was largely responsible for the intriduction of the CityTarget concept. I am not familiar with any of the Canadian target stores, but the article cites high prices and inventory problems being a major problem for them.

Post Reply