Target is going small — again.
The discount retailer’s push to open more small-format stores in urban and suburban areas will add two on Long Island.
Target plans to open an approximately 43,000-square-foot store in a combined space left vacant by two former tenants — Bed Bath & Beyond and H&M — in Bay Harbour Mall, a shopping center in Lawrence. Also, an approximately 70,000-square-foot Target will be opening in part of a former Sears store in the Lake Success Shopping Center in New Hyde Park, which I initially reported on in December.
"We’re excited to bring an easy, convenient shopping experience to new guests in these communities with the new Target stores," said Jill Lewis, a spokeswoman for Minneapolis-based Target Corp.
She declined to say when the two stores will open or what features they will have.
But plans that the retailer submitted to the town of North Hempstead for a conditional-use permit, which was granted, showed the Target slated for 1400 Union Tpke. in New Hyde Park will include groceries, a CVS pharmacy and Starbucks.
The Lawrence store will be at 345 Rockaway Tpke.
A small-format Target store is, on average, 1/3 the size of a full-size store — about 43,000 square feet compared with 130,000 square feet.
"Inside each small-format, guests will find many of the categories (like home, apparel and food and beverage) they’d expect to see in a full-size store, but with smaller assortments curated for their local neighborhood," the Target website says.
Of Target’s 18 stores on Long Island, four are small-format locations, the newest of which opened in Selden in 2018.
Target’s small-format concept, as it exists today, was first introduced near the University of Minnesota in 2014.
Now, of the retailer’s 1,880 stores nationwide, 120 are small-format stores.
Target has opened 12 small-format stores this year and plans to open a dozen more late this month, Lewis said.
The company is focusing on opening small-format stores in urban areas, dense suburban neighborhoods and near college campuses, all of which are places where traditional full-size Target stores might not fit, the company said.
But the retailer is only taking 58% of the space of the former Sears store in New Hyde Park, which was 120,000 square feet. And retail vacancies that occurred well before the COVID-19 pandemic, which hit the United States in February, have left plenty of available big-box space on Long Island.
So, what's up with Target not going after more space?
One retail analyst I spoke to said it’s more about Target wanting more efficiency than it is about a lack of large spaces — at least on Long Island.
Target views smaller stores as being more efficient because rent and payroll costs can be offset by a focused assortment favoring the products that matter most to the consumers in a particular area, said Zain Akbari, an equity analyst at Morningstar Research Services in Chicago.
Also, unlike the world’s largest retailer, Walmart, which ships most of its online orders to customers from fulfillment centers, Target ships most of its online orders directly from stores, he said. So, to fulfill those online orders as efficiently as possible, it makes more sense for Target stores to be as close to customers as possible, Akbari said.
"Fundamentally, Target is in a very low margin business … there’s not a whole lot of room for error and not a whole lot of opportunity for pricing to move that much higher, just because the competitive dynamic is so intense," he said.
A number of factors go into the retailer’s decisions on where to open stores, including existing Targets in the area, Lewis said.
"The type of store we build is determined by factors such as anticipated sales volume, site constraints and the specific needs of a community," she said.
Correction: Target submitted plans to the Town of North Hempstead for a small-format store in New Hyde Park. The name of the town was incorrect in an earlier version of the story.
Retail Roundup is a column about major retail news on Long Island — store openings, closings, expansions, acquisitions, etc. — that is published online and in the Monday paper. To read more of these columns, click here. If you have news to share, please send an email to Newsday reporter Tory N. Parrish at firstname.lastname@example.org.