Target Setting Sights On CE

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Target is aiming to further bolster is burgeoning CE business.

The segment, which grew 14.3 percent in 2003 to account for $16 billion in sales for the upscale discounter, is getting a series of enhancements this year.

For starters, the company will begin bringing its photo lab operations in house, said VP/merchandise manager Steve Eastman. Seven pilot stores in the Twin Cities area are currently testing Target-owned and -operated photo finishing equipment, and Kodak's Qualex division, the present third-party operator, is expected to turn the business over chain-wide this year.

In addition, Target is in the process of reconfiguring its in-store video wall. Dubbed Channel Red, the display will benefit from the company's conversion from analog signals to a digital media network that will provide controllable and metered HD content. Both transitions are expected to be completed system-wide by April.

Eastman also pointed to Target's new P2004 stores, a traffic-boosting prototype that was introduced last March. The new design, which favors the electronics and home entertainment areas with increased square footage, has proved “an incredible success,” he said, and will serve as the company's go-forward format and template for remodels.

Separately, Target.com has begun carrying a new line of high-definition LCD TVs, a 42W-inch enhanced-definition plasma display, and portable MP3 players by Nikada, a start-up U.S. CE maker.

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