I wonder how much of this is regional? I had been very critical of Target in recent years but I have seen a tremendous rebound in store condition, merchandising and in stocks in the last six months. The stores do appear to have too much inventory in home decor and electronics so they are aggressively clearance labeled there but the rest of the store is significantly improved. This is primarily Inland Empire in SoCal which used to be one of their worst executed markets and they're outnumbered by Walmart about 2 to 1. Some of the problem areas you've mentioned like drapes are in perfect condition in every Target I've shopped here in the last 90 days, no outs and well recovered even when they were running a 25% off the entire category for a month. (I moved recently and have bought a lot of drapes)storewanderer wrote: ↑August 30th, 2022, 10:58 pm Went into the Reno Target tonight. Total disaster. The store was poorly stocked throughout most consumables areas (must have been wiped out by Burning Man, but Burning Man started over the weekend; the local Wal Marts have largely recovered already and WinCo doesn't even look like anything happened).
Then I got over into other odd random areas like drapes, picture frames, entire aisles were nearly empty. No way this stuff got bought up by the Burning Man attendees.
Front end was interesting; it wasn't even 8 PM yet. Only option was self checkout; no regular cashiers open. I saw many employees just standing around talking. I didn't see anyone picking orders and saw one employee attempting to straighten clothing (another absolute disaster area, looked worse than a thrift store). First time I have seen mandatory self checkout at a Target.
Target is circling the drain faster than imaginable.
I have long suspected that Target focuses regional management on the major cities with lots of stores and neglects the remote areas. They don't seem to like leaving the urban environment. This might be another reason why they have tried to open so many smaller format urban stores - maybe too many of their regional managers lack experience in staffing and operating stores outside of these areas? It is much more challenging to run stores in a "one store market" where you must have strong leadership that is capable of developing a deep bench within the store for succession planning. In a metro market you can just do the job posting for Team Leader of whatever department and move people from store to store quickly since you have dozens of locations. If a store breaks you can put together an overnight team for a few days and fix it. Not so much in a one store market, and a two or three store market isn't much better. This is where Walmart excels - they aggressively seek managers who will relocate anywhere they're asked to - and they can build a bench within a store to promote from. Hence most one store market Walmart stores are their best run stores - while for Target they are their worst.
They do seem to be testing a solution to the Pfresh/SuperTarget issue in a few SoCal stores. I call it "Pfresh Plus." Long Beach-Bellflower Blvd. was recently expanded and knocked down the walls into the former garden center for a larger grocery section. This is a old store that probably opened in the 80's and does good volume and has been well maintained - it was standard Target size but with this expansion is now probably about 130K Sq ft, a tad smaller than the 150-170K SuperTarget locations. It is more like a Walmart grocery area in a store that didn't have service deli or bakery, and is a larger assortment of foods. It is not as large as the SuperTarget format which they seemed to not be able to keep up with. This is also in place in Redlands which was also recently remodeled and expanded, as well as Camarillo and Temecula. Long Beach, Redlands and Temecula got a second entrance in foods that is actually branded as Target Grocery and the Order Pickup counter moved there along with a few self checkout registers for quick grocery orders; Camarillo maintains the one entrance format and it is furthest from foods. It is definitely a larger assortment of fresh products than the Pfresh which makes it easier to do a complete shopping trip (as long as you didn't want service deli, service bakery or seafood - but Target can't execute any of these categories well anyway so no loss). Instead of one column of aisles there are two columns. This also makes it easier to shop than the SuperTarget format where the aisles are just too long. Redlands is probably the best version of this and leads with produce. I could easily see Target "downsizing" the Super format to this version which doesn't take away as much from the assortment as their locations that were "de-supered" down to Pfresh - and if they maintained the same labor without having to fund losing operations like bakery they might be able to maintain a good standard in the rest of the department and become more competitive with Walmart. If this "Pfresh Plus" format works they could also easily collapse a column of general merch aisles out of conventional Target stores and implement it there as well to gain more food sales.