This month, Target Stores turned 50 years old and Roseville can boast that it was the birthplace for what has become the nation's leading upscale discounter.
At the northeast corner of Snelling Avenue and County Road B, the Roseville Target has gone from being a 82,500 square foot discount facility to now a 185,000 square-foot SuperTarget, which includes a full-line supermarket.
The original Target store sold an assortment from groceries (it had an Applebaum's supermarket) to baked goods and had an in-store restaurant called Gingham Garden. And its interior was designed with an innovative racetrack layout. That floor plan is still part of Target’s in-store experience today, said company spokesman Antoine LaFromboise.
In an interview with Roseville Patch, Twin Cities retail academic Dave Brennan said Target set itself apart from other discounters such as Wal-Mart and Kmart because its roots grew out of traditional department store retailing. The company was founded by department store retailer Dayton-Hudson.
Target's hallmarks have been a higher product quality, greater attention to merchandise selection and slightly less emphasis on low pricing, said Brennan, co-director of the Institute for Retailing Excellence at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.
Early Target stores featured some merchandise that isn’t found in our stores today such as wall-to-wall carpet, tires and fabric, LaFromboise said..
Since its debut, the Roseville has expanded twice and became a SuperTarget in the fall of 2005.
Today, Target has 1,765 stores , including 74 in Minnesota. In 2011, the company posted sales of $69.8 billion and profits of almost $3 billion.
For all of its success today, however, Target's franchise wasn't always so secure, Brennan said. He noted the company in the early 1970s struggled when it bought several locations in Iowa and Nebraska from the Arlan's department store chain and had trouble incorporating the new locations into its Target fold.
"It (Target) was not a big success initially," Brennan said. Wikipedia notes that during that period, "Dayton Hudson considered selling off the Target Stores."
Wikipedia adds, "The new management saved the chain by marking down merchandise to clean out its overstock and by allowing only one new unit to open that year (1973). In 1975, it opened two stores, reaching 49 units in nine states and $511 million in sales. That year, the Target discount chain became the company's top revenue produce.