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Fortune has a piece about Target CEO Brian Cornell's presentation to the magazine's Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colorado, in which he said that "consumers don't want shiny objects; they want better store and customer experiences, and any retailer's innovation strategy has to be pursued accordingly."

That means, Cornell said, that while Target has provided seed money to some entrepreneurs who were charged with figuring out what the store of the future should look like, "Unfortunately, they were drifting out to another universe. We had to reel things back in."

Fortune writes: "Earlier this year, Target's innovation chief left, the retailer scrapped an ambitious 'store of the future' initiative it had planned to open in Silicon Valley; a place where it was to have showcased robots among other innovations. And Cornell was adamant in a financial update this spring: the payoff from any innovation investment has to be faster now."

And, the story goes on: "Cornell and his team are putting more emphasis on lower prices, remodeling 600 stores, and overhauling its supply chain to better meld its digital and physical operations as part of a $7 billion multi-year initiative.
Target is ramping up the roll-out of smaller, urban stores and wants to fine-tune its use of stores to speed up delivery, considerations that are more important than some of the sci-fi tech many retailers are pursuing. Given that 85% of Americans live a short drive from a Target, prosaic considerations such as using stores to fill orders are paramount."
KC's View:
It seems to me that one of the problems at Target is that they can't do both things at once - make their existing fleet of stores better and more relevant while simultaneously thinking about how the company is going to be positioned five or six years from now. The other big problem can se seen in all the emails we've gotten here from MNB readers who have found Target stores they've visited to be pretty dispiriting experiences.

I've been to the one here in Portland once or twice this summer, and it is a generally soul-sucking experience - just merchandise displayed without panache or style or even anything akin to passion. Just blah ... suffering from what I would call "nobody gives a damn" syndrome.