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Downtown retailer closing as first dinky-style Target opens

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A so-called "big box" store is closing its doors in downtown Minneapolis as a downsized version of a familiar big box opens its doors near the University of Minnesota campus.

KSTP reports the Office Depot in Nicollet Mall's City Center will close in September after selling downtown office workers their supplies for 15 years. It's the latest chain retailer to exit the core city. The Ann Taylor store closed in March and Saks Off Fifth is leaving in January.

But the prime 24,000-square-foot space long occupied by Office Depot won't stand empty for long. The Business Journal talked to a consultant for Shorenstein Properties, which owns City Center. The consultant indicated the company is "in negotiations with a handful of retailers who would cater to the 24/7 destination that downtown has become as opposed to the traditional office worker."

Meanwhile, the Star Tribune notes the very first TargetExpress store will open its doors Wednesday in Dinkytown near the University of Minnesota. The 20,000-square-foot TargetExpress is about a sixth of the size of traditional locations. It is on the first floor of a new apartment building that students will move into for the first time as they return to campus next month.

The newspaper got a sneak peek at the new style of Target earlier this week, noting that the prototype "feels like a drugstore along the lines of a CVS or Walgreens, but has its own Target flair with merchandise that includes groceries, bedding, smartphones — plus a healthy dose of Gophers fan gear."

Target is pursuing shoppers who live in the urban core of cities as population booms in those areas. While only about 11 percent of Target stores are now in such urban areas, the Minneapolis-based discounter has opened eight CityTarget stores. While Target’s customers have traditionally visited their stores to stock up on essentials, CityTarget and TargetExpress are aimed at shoppers picking up fewer items.

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