Target Offering In-Home Services; Plans CE Department Upgrade

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Target is beefing up its CE business with the launch of its first store-based home services offering, and a planned upgrade of the electronics departments in a select number of stores.

The discount chain outsourced its services function to third-party provider Zip Express Installation, which will provide TV delivery, hook-up, removal/recycling and on-wall installation, as well as gaming console setup.

Zip Express began providing similar services, including home theater setup, for Target.com in 2008.

The store-based menu was rolled out this month in advance of the Super Bowl, Target said. Prices range from $50 for TV haul-away and recycling, to $99 for TV delivery, setup and demo. Gaming console setup is also $99, and on-wall installation starts at $199.

“Our goal is to create an intuitive and easy electronics shopping experience for our guests — ensuring they are 100 percent satisfied with the services they receive in-store, and with the products they take home,” said Target senior VP Mark Schindele.

Zip Express, also based here, is a leading home installation provider with more than 16,000 installers nationwide. Founded by Chris Mauzy, a former business development director at Best Buy for Business and builder services director at Ultimate Electronics, the company's retail clients also include ShopKo and BJ's Wholesale Club.

The program follows the recent rollout of a 100-store mobile phone pilot outsourced to RadioShack subsidiary Kiosk Operations. The Bullseye Mobile Solutions centers offer contracts and handsets from Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, and a trained, uniformed agent to sell them.

Also in anticipation of the Super Bowl, Target in late January ran the following TV sales promotions:

  • a 19-inch Philips 720p LCD TV for $199;
  • a 22-inch Vizio 1080p LCD TV for $280;
  • Vizio's new Java 32-inch 1080p LCD TV for $478;
  • a 40-inch Sony Bravia 1080p LCD TV for $700; and
  • free 3D glasses for viewing the Michael Jackson tribute during the Jan. 31 Grammys telecast on CBS-TV.

Meanwhile, Target said it expects to invest about $1 billion in the renovation of approximately 340 of its 1,744 stores this year. The upgrade will incorporate “a variety of new merchandise initiatives,” the chain said, including enhanced layouts, assortments and in-store experiences for the CE and video gaming categories, among several other categories.

Target is also developing a smaller-format store for urban markets, which it will begin testing within the next few years, but is limiting the growth of its traditional format stores to 10 new locations this year, net of closings and relocations.

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