Target Takes Best National Retailer Prize

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MINNEAPOLIS –

Target’s CE assortment may not be the most expansive in retail, but its astute merchandising, precision editing and bright, buoyant presentation make its less-is-more approach a winner.

As it has in apparel, housewares and home fashions, Target has raised discount- channel electronics from mass to class by offering top-tier brands like Apple, Bose, Monster, Panasonic and Samsung, and by being first-to-market across all brick-and-mortar channels with Kindle and other products and services.

The No. 5 CE chain, which garnered $6.5 billion in brown-goods revenue last year, has also expanded its already considerable gaming section, outsourced its mobile business to RadioShack, and reset the electronics department with an open layout and improved sight lines.

On the service side, Target now offers TV delivery and installation through Zip Express, free tech support through its toll-free (877) MyTGTtech hotline, and pre-owned CE trade-ins through Next- Worth. In addition, CE, like all merchandise sold in-store or online, is offered at a 5 percent discount if purchased on the chain’s private-label credit card, compounding its already competitive prices.

“Consumer electronics and video games are an integral part of Target’s business, and we aim to deliver competitive prices, an expertly edited selection and compelling services,” said merchandising VP Nik Nayar. “Receiving recognition from TWICE showcases how we’re successfully achieving our goals and delivering on our ‘expect more, pay less’ brand promise.”

On a recent visit to a suburban Target location in central New Jersey, which was tapped for the original 100-store RadioShack mobile pilot, the department was highlighted by dedicated displays for Bose sound docks and speaker systems, iPod and iPad hardware and accessories, and Monster Beats headphones.

Gaming sprawled across three aisles, reflecting last year’s 30 percent increase in category real estate, while one aisle each was devoted to tablets and e-book readers, headphones and digital imaging. The latter was relocated from its original wraparound display by the checkout counter as part of last year’s reset, while mobile retains the coveted central spot near the register.

Accessories comprised the secondlargest category after gaming, ranging from mounts, earphones and recordable media, to batteries, cases and computer peripherals.

Despite an expanded TV wall, Target’s investment in that category has traditionally trailed its competitors and the strategy appears unchanged. Screen sizes topped out at 55 inches, smart LED models were scant, and no 3D demos were offered. Given continued compression of TV pricing and margins, Target’s decision here appears prescient.

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