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Carroll School of Management

Urban Stores

Brian C. Cornell

Chairman and CEO, Target Corporation  

Excerpt from remarks to Boston College’s Chief Executives Club  

February 3, 2016

TAKEAWAY: Urban Stores

We also know, and we’ve been spending a lot of time recognizing, that today’s US consumer, they’re moving back to city centers. Whether it’s here in Boston or in Minneapolis or other major cities I travel to, we know that our guests—today’s consumer—are moving back to urban centers. We need to make sure that our brand is there. So we’re recognizing that we’ve got to think about our formats differently. We recognize that in a state like Massachusetts, more than 70 percent of the state’s population lives in metro areas. You host a quarter-million college students every year. And we want to be there to meet their needs.

So while last year we did a tremendous amount of business in the 128 corridor, we want to place even bigger bets. Boston is one of the markets where we’re placing a really, really big bet.  Last summer, maybe a mile from here, we opened up a beautiful new store at Fenway Park. While I’ve been told you should never, ever talk about your favorites, my local team knows that I view this as one of the crown jewels in our portfolio. It’s a bit of an anomaly for us. The fact of the matter is a typical Target store doesn’t fit nicely in Boston. The blocks are usually too tight. The streets are a little narrow. And it’s hard to find 10 acres to develop. But in this case, we got lucky.

We’re looking at other cities, like Philadelphia and New York and Chicago, where we can continue to develop flexible formats. And we’re taking our time. But we think this is one of the ways we’ll get closer to the consumer of tomorrow. We’re building stores that, in some cases, are about 20% the size of a typical store. But instead of just trying to shrink our box, we’re starting now to custom-tailor our approach, making sure that we can make it really easy to meet the needs of that local consumer, but also give them the opportunity to experience more of Target online, having products shipped to their stores for easy pickup.

And I’m happy to announce that while Boston may be one of our crown jewels, over the next few months, we’ve got new sites that we picked out in the Boston area, one by Cambridge and another one right by Boston University, in Packard's Corner, that’ll be opening up the next couple of months. So Father, if there’s a site that you can show me by Boston College, I’m here, and I’m interested.