Scaled-down store targets urban customers

POSTED: Saturday, July 28, 2012 - 12:00pm

UPDATED: Saturday, July 28, 2012 - 12:04pm

Seattle will become one of only three cities in the country on Wednesday to open a CityTarget -- a new concept that focuses on smaller stores with items geared toward urbanites, not suburbanites.

The scaled-down store is two-thirds the size of a typical Target store.

It will cater to customers who live and work in downtown Seattle, which means smaller packaging for customers who are walking to the store and living in spaces with limited storage.

For example, most packages of toilet paper are limited to 8 or 12 rolls, and most bottles of laundry detergent are light enough to be lifted without a grunt.

"We do realize that a lot of our guests that are shopping are going to be on foot," said store manager Amanda Martinez. "It's what you can carry in your hands when you're heading home for the night."

After years of suburban sprawl -- with the growth of Super Targets and Walmart Supercenters -- more retailers are looking to put smaller stores in urban centers, said Matt Isaac, a marketing professor at Seattle University.

"They're looking for new avenues for growth," he said. "In the suburbs, there's clearly saturation."

In downtown Seattle, the population grew 72 percent between 1990 and 2010.

Issac said retailers will not just target those who live and work downtown.

They will also try to lure tourists. Seattle's new CityTarget features a "City Love" section with postcards, T-shirts and other souvenirs geared almost entirely toward out-of-town guests.

CityTargets are also opening in Chicago and Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Seattle's store features an underground parking garage.

The first hour of parking is validated with a purchase of $20 or more.

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