Target Holding Its Own Against Walmart

Third quarter profit reports are out today and both Walmart and Target did well.

From Bloomberg, “Since October, Wal-Mart has cut holiday-season prices on toys, electronics, and appliances as it posted lower-than- expected sales gains last month. Before the discounting, the company had been stressing a strategy of upgrading stores and merchandise in a bid to attract more upscale shoppers.”

Whoops. Way to try to be Target, Walmart. Slashing prices got them back on track, but what about Target?

“Sales at Target stores open at least a year rose 4.6 percent in the three months ended Oct. 28, marking the 12th time in 15 quarters Target’s growth outpaced Wal-Mart.”

“Target’s customers won’t defect”, said Rick Rubin, an analyst at Mercantile Bankshares Corp. in Baltimore, with $22 billion in assets including Target shares.. “Target seems to have more of a connection to its consumer.”

Judging by the comments on this website, we’d have to agree.— MEGHANN MARCO

Target’s Third-Quarter Profit Rises on Food and Holiday Toys [Bloomberg]


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  1. Kornkob says:

    Unfortunatley, Target is changing, and not for the better.

    The Madison Target rennovated recently and changed from an easily navigated, well laid out store with wide brightly lit aisles that made it easy to find what you needed and depart. This was one of the things that really made them different.

    The current rennovation is the typical ‘consumer trap’ design in which a maze of poorly lit aisles are set up to force customers to pass by more shelf space per visit in the hopes that they’ll impulse buy a little more.

    Finding help in the old layout was easy to do, because you could see the red shirt employees from quite a distance. Now, even if they are putting as many employees on the floor it is harder to find help— and now with their maze-like layout you actually need more help.

  2. Trai_Dep says:

    Where’s the fun in being Belzebub when it doesn’t even garner you repeat business? Wal-Mart needs to sacrifice more (3rd world) babies!

  3. dukerayburn says:

    I’ve got to admit that I feel a stronger pull towards Target. Shopping at Wal-Mart is always a consummately depressing experience, and even when I’m in there for only one easily-reached item it never seems like I can get through a check-out line in less than 15 minutes. There are never enough cashiers and the self-checks are frequently out-of-commission at the times I have to shop, which are admittedly pretty late.

    But these days if it comes down to going to Wal-Mart at night or Target in the morning, Target wins out every time. They have sufficient cashiers, the customer service is excellent, and their in-house food brand (Marketplace Farm) offers some really tasty stuff. And last, fewer rednecks. The fewer women I have to see with Eeyore tattoos and oversized Rappin’ Tweety Bird shirts, the better.

  4. Nancy Sin says:

    Happier employees definitely allow for a more pleasant shopping experience.

    There is one fairly recent development that irks me about Target, which the first commenter touched upon: There is a dollar section upon the first entrance filled with chintzy (often season/holiday specific) crapola that reeks of sweatshop. And the stores have become increasingly difficult to navigate. But the merchandise is higher-quality and the prices are still low enough (I’d rather that extra 18¢ go into a cashier’s pocket).

    I can’t escape the redneck factor… I do live in Florida after all.

  5. ElizabethD says:

    Target is smart for developing exclusive house brands by famous designers in clothing, housewares, and home decorating. Many of their clothing is well-made and fashionably classic enough that I’ve received compliments on (for example) my Tar-jhay suede jacket from very high-end kinds of peeps. I’ve had the thing for at least five years and it still looks great. Ditto a gray woven, slightly stretchy three-season blazer and pants set.

    If you care about more than simply the bottom line, i.e., if you are even a little bit discriminating, Target is a much more rewarding place to shop than WalMart. That being said, occasionally I’ll jump the shark when I need to buy, say, a bunch of DVDs and small appliances for Christmas presents. Then, WalMart’s pricing usually seals the deal.

  6. acambras says:

    Reasons I prefer Target over WalMart:
    1) Better lighting
    2) Wider aisles
    3) Nicer merchandise
    4) Friendlier, more helpful staff (OK, except Fran)
    5) It’s easier to find a staff person when you need one
    6) The store is better maintained (merchandise put back in its proper place at the end of the day), so it’s easier to find what you want
    7) Target stores tend to be cleaner
    8) Hassle-free returns
    9) A less scary parking lot

    Those are just off the top of my head.

  7. acambras says:

    Oh, and:

    10) Minimal to no waiting time in line at the checkout.

  8. North of 49 says:

    here target target… Come across the border… Good boy. Here’s a scoobie snack.

  9. etinterrapax says:

    If I had to guess why Target’s getting the business even if not winning the price match, I’d say that it has part to do with the emotionally satisfying experience of shopping there–quality merchandise at a low price, even if not the lowest price in any given category, and in a pleasing environment to women, who tend to make decisions about the kinds of items that both Wal-Mart and Target carry–and part to do with Target’s comparatively limited selection. Wal-Mart for a long time intentionally stacked the merch as high as it would go. They believed that endless selection and apparent abundance encouraged people to buy more. But chains like Aldi proved that not to be true–if the price is right, selection is not necessarily a factor–and now it’s actually a cultural joke, how overwhelming the size and number of different products in a large store like Wal-Mart can be. And then there is the clientele. If I hadn’t worked for Wal-Mart, I might not have believed it, but when people will pee on the sales floor, you know you’ve got to find somewhere else to shop..

  10. Wal Mart’s lighting is horrid. It washes out everything in a blue/gray haze, that makes one feel like they are shopping in a prison yard.

  11. AcidReign says:

    …..We have a pretty nice bathroom right next to the milk rack in my local Walmart. I’m usually drinking coffee when I grocery shop, and a decent store bathroom is a must! The Mexicans, Muslims, and rednecks I shop there with are too polite to use the floor. Our local schools don’t teach people to read well enough to use self-checkout, and there’s almost never a line if you don’t mind bagging your own.

    …..I like Target, too, but it’s a LOT farther from my house than Wally and Sam’s. They also don’t have as good a grocery selection as Walmart.

  12. flyover says:

    I’ve seen the back rooms of various Targets & Walmarts here in East Bay and have to say there is one Target that is head & shoulders above the rest in terms of organization & cleanliness.

    Not suprisingly, the employees are happier there as well & management is friendlier.

    (psst It’s the one in Pinole! Wouldn’t have guessed that wouldya?) FYI there are plenty I haven’t seen as well…

  13. LSK says:

    Which I have no allegiance to any stores, I have to admit that Target is the least evil of the set (Wal*Mart, K-Mart, Target).