Fresh Produce

Donna Reel of Chandler shops Wednesday, July 27, 2011, inside the Target store at the Tempe Marketplace where the store has added a fresh produce section. [Tim Hacker, Tribune]

Tim Hacker

If you haven’t noticed it already, many of the Target stores in the East Valley are changing to a format that includes more fresh produce and a larger assortment of food.

The larger grocery section added fresh produce, ground beef, pre-packaged bakery goods and an expanded frozen foods section, among other grocery items that top weekly shopping lists. The section is about 40 percent larger than in a general Target location.

The remodel doesn’t include a bakery or a deli, but there is a smaller assortment of these items that give customers a convenient, one-stop experience, said Sarah Bakken, the company’s Phoenix area communications manager.

“The average Target shopper is young, well educated, moderate-to-better income families who live active lifestyles,” said Bakken. “The median age of our guests is 40 years old, the youngest of major discount retailers. Forty-three percent have children at home.”

With such a young, on-the-go clientele, Target focused on finding ways to make shopping at their stores more convenient.

“The expanded food layout was created in response to research and feedback from our guests who requested more fresh foods in the convenience of their local Target store,” said Bakken.

Last weekend, five Targets in the East Valley unveiled the remodeled format, but the first to be converted was the one at Tempe Markeplace, in March.

“What we’re hearing is that guests love the convenience aspect,” said Chris Ras, a store team leader at the Tempe Marketplace store.

The Tempe Marketplace location, with its close proximity to Arizona State University, probably has an even younger demographic than the national Target average, Ras said. Students who don’t shop for as many items as a family does might find the new grocery section especially convenient with food prices comparable to what it would cost at other local stores. 

“Target already has the reputation for neat and clean stores and no waits at checkout,” Ras said. With the remodeled grocery area, it has the total package, he said.

The transaction count has increased significantly, and the number of items that customers buy per transaction has also increased, Ras said.

“That means that the current base is spending more, making more frequent trips and that there are new guests,” Ras said.

The company is also implementing changes in other areas of the store. The beauty, baby, home and shoe departments are undergoing face-lifts.

The beauty department has changed the way it displays products with a more interactive approach, with displays listing makeup tips.

The baby and home departments have both changed the floor layout to make it easier for customers to find what they want.

In shoes, the department has added more seating and mirrors. The company is also trying to improve presentation by changing the way customers view sample shoes.

While the remodel has changed the way the store looks and feels, there have not been any additional jobs created by the layout change.

The fresh grocery option is not to be confused with Super Targets, which have a full grocery store in conjunction with the traditional Target store. A number of other local stores will not be remodeled.

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