“We have seen success with the stores that we have tested it in, and so we have rolled it out more broadly because we have seen that our guests have liked the convenience,” she said.
Target added the produce sections as a way to make its stores more of a one-stop shop, although its offering will not be a substitute for a full-service grocery store, she said.
“This is just a way for us to offer added convenience for our guests by providing fill-in food so you can supplement your weekly trip to the grocery store with fill-in goods [from Target],” she said.
The company’s efforts to expand its offerings is likely a response to other big-box stores like Costco, which has a location in Burbank and sells produce, said Harold Kassarjian, professor of marketing at the Cal State Northridge College of Business and Marketing.
“Costco’s been rather successful, and I think they’re just emulating Costco,” Kassarjian said.
Whether the approach will be successful is unclear, Kassarjian said, because it is a departure from the company’s prior focus.
“I have some suspicions of their success, but we’ll see,” he said. “I just don’t think that they’re in that business. I don’t know if they can be good at it.”
Target’s shift toward produce will likely not have a significant impact on other markets, said Dave Heylen, spokesman for the California Grocers Assn.
“I honestly don’t think that typically a consumer would make Target their first choice for their weekly grocery shopping,” Heylen said. “They don’t have the variety, the expertise [that grocery stores do].”
Still, with competition tight for low levels of consumer spending, the company’s expansion into produce will likely make some sort of a dent in the sales of nearby grocery stores, he said.
Produce sections at Target stores, either at Empire Center in Burbank or in the Glendale Galleria, will be a benefit to consumers and will likely be successful with shoppers who need to stock up on specific items, but not on all of their groceries, said Judee Kendall, executive director of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce.
“People don’t have much time, and they like to do everything in one place, and I think it’ll be helpful for people,” Kendall said.