Target to Debut Standalone Specialty Store

Discussion
May 09, 2012
George Anderson

The big news is that Target plans to open its first store in San Francisco this October. The smaller news, in a manner of speaking, is that the company also plans to debut its first standalone C9 Active Apparel branded specialty store in the city at the same time. The store will feature Champion activewear manufactured by Hanesbrands for sale by Target.

According to a report by the San Francisco Chronicle, the 3,000 square-foot store will be located on the street level below the new City Target at the same location.

In an email to RetailWire, a Target spokesperson said the store would feature both men and women’s athletic apparel and sporting gear such as yoga mats and water bottles.

Trish Adams, senior vice president of merchandising at Target, said the men’s and women’s activewear line priced in the $20 to $40 range is one of the chain’s "most popular brands" and the new concept provides a "unique way" to introduce it to "San Francisco’s active community."

Target declined to answer whether it intended to test the C9 by Champion standalone concept in other locations or if it was looking at other popular house brands or categories to break off from its traditional formats.

Discussion Questions: What are your thoughts on Target opening a C9 by Champion standalone concept store in San Francisco? Do you see an opportunity for Target to operate this or other popular private brand stores on a larger basis?

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8 Comments on "Target to Debut Standalone Specialty Store"


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John Boccuzzi, Jr.
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John Boccuzzi, Jr.
7 years 8 months ago

I love the efforts Target has put into their Private Brands. Champion has had a major role in creating a large active wear department at Target and clearly the Target management team sees this success and wants to further capitalize on the opportunity.

I am uncertain if opening a separate store with its own brand name and entrance is the best way to take full advantage of this Private label Brand. Why not build the C9 store directly in the Target so a shopper can check out at the regular counter in Target or maybe a specialty counter in the C9 section? C9 appears to be a destination brand and by taking it out of the Target store they risk losing trips and items in the basket within the larger Target.

Dick Seesel
Guest
7 years 8 months ago

This is an interesting development for several reasons. Target has obviously paid attention to the success of specialty retailers like Lululemon and Athleta, and the same concept at mass price points could be a winner. It also follows the growing trend of “smaller is better” relative to the massive scale of sporting goods stores like Dick’s and The Sports Authority, where fitnesswear is a small part of the assortment.

It’s not clear from the articles whether the Target “brand” will be attached to the stores or whether they will identified strictly as C9 Active Apparel. But it’s a winning idea with a lot of growth opportunity across the country — as well as a foothold into mall locations with other niche Target brands.

Cathy Hotka
Guest
7 years 8 months ago

It seems to me that the opportunity here is to knock American Apparel off their perch while taking Athleta head on. If stores are sufficiently appealing, they may have a shot.

Marge Laney
Guest
7 years 8 months ago

This is a good move if service is part of the strategy. Lululemon is a success, mostly at full retail, because they hire and train associates that give their customers a great experience. The typical Lululemon associate is engaged and knowledgeable about the fit and finish of the products their customers are trying on.

Which brings up an important point; apparel retail buying decisions are made in the fitting room. If C9 is going to make it as a specialty store, they would be wise to pay attention to their fitting room experience. Cramped, poorly lit, self-serve fitting rooms will almost guarantee a lousy experience for the customer that will produce sales only at a discount.

David Biernbaum
Guest
7 years 8 months ago

Target’s debut of a stand alone specialty store is an interesting idea but I’m skeptical that it will serve the appetite of the “targeted” consumer. We shall wait and see.

Martin Mehalchin
Guest
7 years 8 months ago

Given that it’s going to be adjacent to a City Target location, this sounds like a store-within-a-store on steroids. Seems like a win-win for Target and the brand. Target as one of the retail execution leaders can manage the store much more effectively than Champion can; and the store helps Target with a unique offer as they battle competitors on multiple fronts.

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
7 years 8 months ago

By opening a single store such as C9 Active Apparel in a trendy city (San Francisco) with products made exclusively for Target, it could appear that this is a classic test marketing of a new retail concept. But Target insists that isn’t the case and claims they have no “immediate” plans to expand the C9 Active Apparel beyond the SF location. One could assume that that store’s success or failure would determine the degree of future expansion.

Since Target plans to open other urban-oriented City Target stores across the country, with Los Angeles, Seattle and Chicago opening next, a nearby C9 store in such cities would appear to be an opportunity for Target. Target is in an experimenting mode and appears focused on private label and item exclusivity.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
7 years 8 months ago

This is one of those “wait and see” stories we read so often. I like the concept and idea Target is presenting. San Francisco is as good a place to start as any other major, trendy city.

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