Target is an American big box retailing store chain. Generating a revenue of $106 billion in 2021, it is the seventh largest retailer in the USA today. But when it comes to foundation, Target is quite an old company. It is much older than the US largest retailer, Walmart. So, when was Target founded?
But before its founding story, let us check out the company’s fun facts.
Who Is Target? | “Expect More. Pay Less.”
Target sells a wide range of grocery and general merchandise—clothing, household goods, electronics, toys, cosmetics, pet goods, etc. This department store with the iconic bullseye logo sells pretty much everything of your essentials. And don’t forget its mascot Bullseye, an adorable while English bull terrier with the bullseye logo over his left eye.
All 50 US states and the District of Columbia have Target stores. As of 2021, there are 1,938 Target stores across the country. It is so common that 75% of the US population lives within 10 miles (16km) of a Target store.
The retail giant employs more than 400,000 people across the globe, operating 28 office locations globally. But it does not operate any retail stores outside of the US. Target sales grew by 13.20%, while its store number also increased by 1.50% from 2020 to 2021.
Target is a part of the S&P 500 Index. As of 2021, the larger US retailers than Target are: Walmart, Amazon, Costco, The Home Depot, The Kroger Co, and Walgreens Boots Alliance.
By the way unexpectedly, Target Australia does not carry any direct relations or affiliation with the American Target. I said “unexpectedly” because the logos of the two look pretty similar and they carry exactly the same name. But they are complete strangers!
When Was Target Founded | Over a Century Ago
The foundation of Target dates back to 24th June, 1902. Target is an over-a-century-old company.
George Draper Dayton, an American businessman who was also the founder of the Minnesota Loan and Investment Company, purchased a piece of land in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1902. The land originally belonged to the Westminster Presbyterian Church. However, the church was severely damaged by fire during an economic depression in earlier years and its congregation was in dire need of revenue to rebuild the church.
Dayton, who actively attended the church, had enough wealth to purchase the land. He built the wealth by buying farm mortgages in the growing economy in the 1880s. In 1902, Dayton purchased the land and built a six-story building on it. He approached a nearby department store, the Reuben Simon Goodfellow Company, to be the tenant. Instead, its owner retired and sold his interest in the store to Dayton. The store opened on 24th June, 1902.
Throughout its history, the company changed its name for several times. In 1903, Dayton changed the company’s name to the Dayton’s Dry Goods Company. It then became the Dayton Company in 1911. In 1967, the Dayton Company was renamed the Dayton Corporation. The Dayton Corporation merged with J.L. Hudson Company and became the Dayton-Hudson Corporation in 1969.
Dayton, Dayton, Dayton, and Dayton—where is Target? Target as we know today came into being in the 1960s. Here is a story of how the family-run department transformed into a mass-market retailer.
The First Target Store Opened | 1962
In the beginning of the 1960s, times were changing rapidly, so were consumers. Consumers were increasingly value-oriented. The Dayton Company was looking for new ways to strengthen relationships with consumers in the new era. The company took the path to introduce a new kind of department store—a big box mass-market discount store chain. This was the beginning of Target as we know today.
The name “Target” was selected from more than 200 candidates. According to former Dayton’s Director of Publicity Stewart K. Widdess:
As a marksman’s goal is to hit the center bulls-eye, the new store would do much the same in terms of retail goods, services, commitment to the community, price, value and overall experience.
On 1st May, 1962, the Dayton Company opened its first Target discount store in Roseville, Minnesota. Unlike today’s Target logo, the original logo had three concentric circles. One of the circles was removed in 1968, then it was further refined to be what it is today.
The concept of the upscale discount score was spot on. Better-quality merchandise at discount prices soon gained popularity. In 1966, Target stepped beyond Minnesota, expanding nationwide. The company went public in 1967 with 450,000 common stocks at $34 per chare. By the late 1970s, the company was the 7th largest general merchandise retailer in the US. And Target stores in those days started to look like the Target stores today with standardized layouts and the red-and-white color scheme.
From Dayton-Hudson Corporation to Target Corporation | 2000
In 2000, the Dayton-Hudson Corporation became Target Corporation. Target reached the milestone of $50 billion annual sale in 2005, expanding its business rapidly. The company has proactively kept up to speed with new concepts—grocery, recycling, urban convenience stores, sustainable products, and more.
The year 2018 was another year of milestone; Target completed all 50 US states, opening a store in Vermont. But its expansion did not stop there. In 2021, Target celebrated its first $100 billion revenue, achieving more than $106 billion. Today, it runs 1,938 Target stores across the US.
Target started its business as Dayton’s Dry Goods Company over a century ago, in 1902. Initially, it was a family-run department store founded by George Draper Dayton. The department store changed its name several time: the Dayton Company, the Dayton Corporation, the Dayton-Hudson Corporation.
The Target as we know today finds its origin in 1962 when Dayton’s opened its first mass-market discount store in Roseville, Minnesota. In 2000, the Dayton-Hudson Corporation changed its name to Target Corporation.