Target’s profits fell for the 4th straight quarter as the retailer’s sales failed to keep pace with Walmart. [Bloomberg]

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  1. Snarkysnake says:

    Sales also fell because Target is starting to act more like WalMart every day. Returns are now an instant grudge match with hostile store personnel. The prices are being raised by stealth with clever (yet misleading ) unit pricing.And Target’s “chic cheap” trade dress is just looking…Tired and repetitive. Time for some fresh ideas at Target.

  2. Starfury says:

    We shop at Target but we’re also spending a LOT less on “stuff” lately.

  3. rellog says:

    @Snarkysnake: Agrred. Stores seem to get away from what made them successful to begin with. Target has cracked down on their return policies, registry policies and aren’t offering the clearance deals they used to. Even if it isn’t actually true, WalMart holds a perception that they’re cheaper, so without the “hooks” why go to Target…

  4. Juncti says:

    Guess everyone must of bought single deodorants instead of their twin packs.

  5. bohemian says:

    This might be due to Walmart having more locations with full grocery stores than Target does. People still buy groceries but buy less of the “stuff” purchases lately.

    My Target purchases have scaled back to just the basics and out the door so we can deal with the increases in grocery and gas costs.

    When they open the Super Target in town they will be getting a huge chunk of my monthly budget they don’t currently get due to lack of a grocery store there.

  6. cmdrsass says:

    If we lose Target, where will people go to feel superior to Walmart shoppers?

  7. Parapraxis says:

    @cmdrsass:
    Aldi’s?

  8. Amelie says:

    A lot of Target shoppers feel they’re ethically better or cooler for shopping Target instead of Wal-Mart. While Wal-Mart may be the 9th circle of Hell, Target is at least at the 8th. In fact it may be worse than Wal-Mart, as it still pretends they are somehow better.

  9. kalikidtx says:

    @Amelie: I completely disagree. I like most other have shopped at both Target and Walmart in the past. They are/used to be drastically different. I think Target is more upscale, feels more upscale, cleaner, simpler, and more style. Walmart on the otherhand is the exact opposite. Anyone who has stepped in both of these stores would agree, have you?

  10. HooFoot says:

    I used to love Target, but they have slowly been going downhill. Several years ago, I used to regularly buy clothes there. In fact, still own and wear some tank tops and pajama pants that I bought there over ten years ago. Now, however, their latest offerings are ugly, cheap, and it’s impossible to find something that fits me well. And their back-to-school dorm stuff? Same thing as the clothes–hideous and poorly constructed. Made me sad because I was able to outfit a dorm and my first apartment years ago with good deals from Target.

    Not suprised by this news at all. I bet profits would be down even if the economy wasn’t tanking.

  11. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Target seems to massively over-price things because they know they are going to discount deeply.

    And their employees aren’t very helpful, a change from the past.

  12. marsneedsrabbits says:

    @kalikidtx:

    I think Target is more upscale, feels more upscale, cleaner, simpler, and more style. Walmart on the otherhand is the exact opposite. Anyone who has stepped in both of these stores would agree, have you?

    Grocery shopping at Target easily costs about a third more if I buy the things from my ‘regular’ list. I shop Target for clearance and not staples, pretty much exclusively.

    The problem with what you are saying is that even if it is true that one store “feels” more stylish, in an economic slow-down, most people won’t care what the store “feels” like. They care that toilet bowl cleaner is 75 cents less at WalMart and that shampoo is a dollar cheaper.

    And for the record, the WalMart nearest my house has huge bright skylights, is neat and tidy, and has departments that Target doesn’t have that would require me to go elsewhere if I shopped Target more often.

  13. Desk_hack says:

    I’ve always preferred Target and always will, but they’ve lost some luster recently. I noticed the same thing about their clothes as HooFoot – uninspired and lacking style. Plus, the prices on their store brand have increased dramatically on things like paper towels (which were almost the same price as Bounty and Viva – wtf?).

  14. purplesun says:

    The last couple of times I’ve been in Target (which, admittedly, was quite a while ago) I found everything to be of poor quality and over-priced.

    Not to mention, the people working there were impossible! I used to work at Target myself several years ago. True, it wasn’t the greatest job in the world, but good lord, it was so much easier on my psyche when I was pleasant to people. I don’t see how walking around with a chip on your shoulder makes the day go by any faster/better.

    After a horrendous debacle with a Target gift card and the internet site (three separate shipments – more than half my gift card was used on shipping costs for three things), the entire company has left a bad taste in my mouth.

    I refuse to shop at Walmart and Target just fell to the wayside. Turns out, I don’t need stuff.

  15. Eldritch says:

    I love Target. Lately, I’ve found some amazing deals there, and they had gloriously cute shoes. I agree, it’s much cleaner and classier than WalMart.

  16. kabuk1 says:

    I would LIKE to shop at target, but I find I can no longer afford their $10 candles, $25 iPod cases, and $35 plain black flats. I refuse to spend $20 on pajama bottoms. I won’t pay $2 a bottle for Suave shampoo when it is $.96 elsewhere. Target has an inflated sense of self-importance, much like the college kids who think that brown, green, and pink stripes on a lampshade make the lamp worth $40. Multicolored polka dots do not make a laptop bag worth $30.

    I refuse to pay extra to feel like a damn yuppie. Do rich people LIKE wasting money in overpriced stores? Dumb question. The existence of Nordstrom’s and designer labels answers that question for me. Fools.

  17. Walmart and Target are exactly the same kind of store. You can pretend Target is superior, but you are only fooling yourself.

    That said, I shop at both, but I buy most of my groceries at Walmart. I save a lot of money shopping there and so do a lot of other people.

  18. mac-phisto says:

    @Snarkysnake: i dunno about you, but i’ve never had a problem returning anything at wal-mart. with or without receipt, open, closed, damaged, not even purchased there – they take it.
    =========
    anyhoo, expect this to hit target pretty hard. a slump in sales is painful, but they are also sitting atop mountains of bad credit card debt. write-offs in their cc division are out of control.

    a considerable portion of their growth over the past few years has been from their issuance of charge cards to virtually anyone with a pulse. they were all the rage on wall street a few years ago by churning out record double digit credit card growth every quarter thru their wholly-owned ILC. most retailers are smart enough to keep their credit card division separate from their sales division to avoid the temptation of boosting sales thru shoddy approvals. not target. now they’re paying for their own subprime meltdown on both sides (slower sales & credit charge-offs).

    i would be surprised if they didn’t end up on the crappy side of a merger within 5 years. JPM already bought close to half of their credit card ops. at discount. maybe sears/kmart is looking for another partner…

  19. Kounji says:

    I agree, I haven’t been inclined to buy much of their clothes lately. Its hard to find a staff member their who truly knows the store. Occasionially you run into one or two. I feel that the team members are their more to stock shelves then to really be helpful to people.