Borrowing from the playbook of upscale grocers such as Whole Foods Market and the East Coast’s Wegmans, Target is aiming to serve alcohol right in the store.
Angie Thompson, a Target spokesperson, confirmed that the Minneapolis-based retailer applied in August for liquor licenses to sell and serve alcohol at a planned store in near Chicago’s Navy Pier. If approved, it would be the first time Target has served alcohol. “We sell liquor at a number of stores, but we currently don’t have any Target stores that serve liquor on site,” she told Fortune. She declined to comment further on the plan’s details.
The 24,000-square-foot store in the Streeterville neighborhood also could open the way for the chain of 1,799 U.S. stores to play bartender to dads shopping for car wax and moms seeking back-to-school sneakers. Though the Streeterville store was announced as a TargetExpress, its newest and smallest store format, when it opens on Oct. 7, it will be branded as a Target and offer other amenities such as a pharmacy, Target Mobile, in-store pickup and Starbucks. Beginning this fall, the retailer will be rebranding its other small stores, and the TargetExpress and CityTarget stores will be known simply as Target and identified with the bullseye logo.
The chain’s evolving flexible store design strategy aims to match the layout and offerings to the neighborhood. Navy Pier is a Chicago landmark and tourist destination that attracts millions every year. The Streeterville Target will be about one-fifth the size of a traditional outlet and will be “responding to local market conditions. Localization is a priority for us,” said Thompson.
Though it’s easy to picture hordes cruising the housewares aisles, a cold brew snuggled in the shopping cart cup holder, the reality is likely different. If the discounter follows the lead of its grocery store competitors, it will serve beer and wine at in-store bars or lounges. Target also is paying more attention to its grocery offerings, announcing that it plans to carry more organic, natural and local products. It also will start testing a new in-store cafe concept, USA Today reports.
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