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NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Target Corp. (TGT) is revamping its stores, introducing "stores-within-stores" offering exclusive merchandise from several vendors and testing 25 locations with new in-store Apple Inc. (AAPL) displays.
The retailer's Apple operations will have a "unique display and assortment," said Target spokeswoman Dustee Jenkins, who described the move as "a test."
A teaming with Apple on a broadened assortment would be a coup for Target since Apple's own stores are so successful. The retailer cited "softness" in consumer electronics sales as a contributor to December same-store sales that missed analysts' expectations.
Target will also join other retailers in offering exclusive merchandise under the "store-within-a-store" concept in which sections of stores are dedicated to certain designers' or vendors' wares. J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) and Macy's Inc. (M) are successfully running similar operations.
Target has chosen five initial partners for its "The Shops At Target." The vendors range from purveyers of south Florida fashions to San Francisco-based candy.
The goal is to continue Target's designer partnerships, which began in 1999. The latest exclusive merchandise sold at Targets has been designed with company input and will be available at stores all starting May 6.
The products will be limited editions with Target already having a line up for next year.
Target also announced Thursday it would be embarking on a new $5 billion stock buyback plan upon completion of its current $10 billion buyback plan.
Target shares recently changed hands at $49.32, up 24 cents, while Apple shares slipped $2.26 to $420.29.
-By Karen Talley, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2196; firstname.lastname@example.org