Target turning to fresh food to feed empty aisles


When I was pregnant with my first child, and as a newish mother of young children, the aisles of Target (TGT) were my tonic, antidote for withdrawal from my designer label shopping addiction. I would wander the store, always marveling at the number of other pregnant women and parents with small kids, whiling away the hours through consumption. Have credit card and full SUV tank, will spend an idle $200 at Target. But now? Target is my cautionary tale. I advise other parents looking to reduce their spending and re-think the concept of "disposable income" to avoid Target and Costco. Those $5 seasonal t-shirts and array of cute candles and fashionable lampshades are the enemies of frugality. Today, I stick to the food co-op and farmer's market for my groceries, hopeful I'll avoid the temptation to buy all that extra "stuff" by shopping only where the necessities are.

It looks like I'm not alone in my changing shopping habits, as Target's same-store sales fell 2.9 percent last year. The solution to the drop? Fresh food, to reel in people like me who do, after all, still need to eat. According to Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel, the best way to beat a recession is to give people strapped for cash the one thing they're always buying, no matter what (and hopefully they'll pick up that $5 tee because, after all, it reminds them of their flush days). "That's the power of this. This concept is not cyclical," he says.