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First tiny TargetExpress prepares to open

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Target is preparing to open its smallest store ever later this month.

MPR News reports the 20,000 square foot prototype will open on July 27 in Dinkytown, near the University of Minnesota. Called "Target Express," the store will be open about a month before thousands of students return to campus, looking to outfit their rooms and stock up on ramen. Classes resume on Sept. 2.

The TargetExpress store will be about one-sixth of the size of a typical Target. The Minneapolis-based discount chain has opened eight somewhat smaller stores, called "CityTargets" in urban areas, like the one next to its headquarters on the Nicollet Mall. The retailer says the new store will help the company gain new insights about when, where and how customers want to be served.

StudentHousingBisNow, a website devoted to the student real estate niche, noted that the store will be in the first floor of The Marshall, a 994-unit apartment building that is still under construction. Scott Barton, vice president at EdR, the collegiate housing developer that is building The Marshall, said he was had been seeking a grocery and a retailer with "small merchandise offerings" and was surprised when Target "reached out to him offering to fill both needs."

The story said the TargetExpress will offer customers "both food and small goods, tailored to the Dinkytown market." The retailer has indicated that the Dinkytown store will serve as a sort of lab for the company as it seeks insights about when, where and how customers want to be served.

Target announced plans for the Dinkytown prototype in January. At the time, a Target spokesman said the campus prototype will be a lab for the smaller concept, which may be replicated in other urban markets where real estate is scarce and pricey.

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