Target is one Twin Cities based company that is clearly looking forward without much worry about what may pop up in the rear-view mirror.  Target did take a considerable hit about four years ago when the early impact of the recession had many consumers afraid to think chic, even if it was ‘cheap chic’.

Today the term innovative is likely a better term to sum up the company’s recent good fortune.  The company’s investment to greatly expand its grocery presence through the costly design and rapid expansion of its PFresh concept, has efficiently answered the question of how Target could truly compete in grocery without an even more costly expansion of its SuperTarget model.

Target’s dedicated promotion of its in-house credit card, offering an immediate five-percent discount on all in-store and online purchases, as well as, free shipping on all online purchases made at with the branded card, has thus far been a whopping success.  This has added to Target’s fervor in the legal battle against the national credit card company’s high ‘swipe fee’ structures.

Target Canada has been a project in the works for a year and a half now.  The company recently announced its first round of openings for early 2013.  In 2011, Target acquired 189 Zellers sites across Canada.  After massive renovations, about 130 of these locations will open as Target stores next year. The latest update of this data is currently available from Chain Store Guide’s store locations database.

Target has just unveiled its latest concept.  As many big box retailers seek to meet the next generation of retailing head on with more compact and efficient locations, Target has come up with yet another revolutionary concept.  CityTarget, is designed to efficiently attract the growing legions of urban consumers that are increasingly populating our major cities.

These stores are smaller than the typical Target store, averaging just 80,000-100,000 sq. feet.  CityTarget offerings are geared toward modern urban living.  Thus there is little space for concepts such as outdoor furniture.  Merchandise offerings differ somewhat from typical Targets, aiming to best cater to the modern urban consumers Target hopes to attract.  In fact, merchandising at each CityTarget is designed to appeal specifically to the needs of local community members.

Smaller stores offer significant savings in real estate costs.  To maintain these advantages delivery areas are far more compact than those at conventional Targets.  Even the delivery trucks serving CityTarget stores are smaller.

Last year Walmart debuted its version of a non-big box.  The Walmart Express concept averages about 15,000 sq. ft. and by all indications is a work in progress with some testing the urban waters of Chicago.  After a round of announced openings, expansion of the concept seems to have come to a halt.

Though just in the very first stages of opening, CityTarget seems to be a more polished concept than Walmart’s Express experiment.  Initial openings just took place in Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle, with two more openings expected in October.

Considering the aggressive investments made to create and expand the PFresh concept nationally, establish growth in Target’s in-house credit card and embark on the demands of creating a major presence in a new country via Target Canada’s 130 or so expected openings nest year, no one can accuse Target of resting on its laurels, or resting at all.