History of Target Department Stores

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Target Corporation is the fourth largest retailer in the United States, operating 1,556 stores in 47 states. Formerly Dayton Hudson Corporation, Target has three main retail divisions: Target Stores, Mervyn's, and Marshall Field's. Target Stores is the number two discount retailer in the country, trailing only Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., and has distinguished itself from its competitors by offering upscale, fashion-conscious products at affordable prices. The 1,225 Target stores, which are located in 47 states, generated 84 percent of Target's fiscal 2002 revenues. Target Corporation's full-service department store division, contributor of 6 percent of sales, is now consolidated under the Marshall Field's banner. Target Corporation's philanthropy has been and still is legendary. In 1989 the corporation received the America's Corporate Conscience Award for its magnanimity, and Target contributes more than $2 million each week to the communities in which its stores are located.

Dayton, with no previous experience in the retail trade, wielded tight control of the company until his death in 1938. His principles of thrift and sobriety and his connections as a banker enabled the company to grow. Obsessed with punctuality, he was known to lock the doors at the onset of a meeting, forcing latecomers to wait and apologize to him in person afterwards. The store was run on strict Presbyterian guidelines: no liquor was sold, the store was closed on Sunday, no business travel or advertising was permitted on the Sabbath, and Dayton Company refused to advertise in a newspaper that sponsored liquor ads. This approach did not stifle business; Dayton Company became extremely successful. A multimillion-dollar business by the 1920s, Dayton Company decided it was ready to expand, purchasing J.B. Hudson & Son, a Minneapolis-based jeweler, in 1929, just two months before the historic stock market crash. World War II did not hamper business; rather, Dayton's turned the war into an...
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