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My weekend trips to Target reveal why the stock price is at a record

Brian Sozzi
Editor-at-Large

Target (TGT) has made my Saturday afternoons crazy brighter for more than a year. And it now looks as if holiday shopping on Saturdays will be even brighter than the new norm for yours truly.

Thank you, TarJay.

The discounter said Tuesday it will power the website of the rebooted Toys R Us website. Shoppers head to the new Toys R Us website — which has been re-launched ahead of several store openings this holiday season by the defunct toy chain’s former chief merchant turn CEO of Tru Kids Brands Richard Barry — hit the buy button, and they are linked to the same product page at Target.

Suffice it to say this is a win win for both parties.

For Toys R Us and Barry, it joins forces with a powerful brand in Target for its return to life this crucial holiday shopping season. What better plan of attack than to link up with a retailer in Target that, for lack of other words, has been on fire this year in stores and online. And obviously, using Target’s supply chain will free up resources for Barry to continue plotting out the Toys R Us retail store network and adding key members to his team.

As for Target, this is another feather in its cap when it comes to the toy business. Target went through great pains to bulk up its toy department last holiday season in the absence of Toys R Us (recall they went bankrupt, all stores closed in the U.S. in early 2018), and it worked wonders for the overall performance of the business in the important fourth quarter. So, working closely with an established toy brand in Toys R Us gives Target the top of mind position among consumers as the the holiday destination for toys.

Damnit, so good to see Toys R Us back in the game — I spent every weekend in there as a kid in the 1980s. I know where I am buying my toys this holiday season for my niece and nephew, Target, if for no other reason I can conjure up warm Toys R Us memories via a tap of the button online.

Others of my generation are likely to follow a similar line of thinking. In short, the Toys R Us shopping tradition is about to be passed onto the next generation of kiddies.

It’s highly likely Toys R Us shops open inside Target stores within the next 24 months. If so, they would join the dozens of new Disney shops opening in Target stores — another recent win for the Target merchandising team.

A year of winning for Target

That said, what’s happening in Target’s toy aisles isn’t relegated to the toy aisles alone. Want the most straightforward reason why Target’s stock price is at a record after several blowout quarters this year? Then follow my Twitter account @BrianSozzi because the great reinvention of Target has been unfolding on it for more than a year.

Target has become a vastly different place to shop in two years time thanks to an aggressive remodeling campaign by CEO Brian Cornell. I get happier when I walk through the front door, knowing full well I am entering a store that meets all of the crazy needs I have — from a fake plant in a nice vase for the kitchen to a fresh-faced energy drink with 300mg of caffeine that so happens to be sitting nearby a Beyond Meat burger package.

(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

This wasn’t the case at Target five years ago.

The home department feels like HomeGoods lite, except you don’t waste two hours in there trying to find a cool-looking paper towel holder. You can get that cool-looking paper towel holder in five minutes. The Target home goods section is like Macy’s — on trend stuff, but half the price and you don’t need to waste time on an escalator or wander through 75% off underwear to reach the department.

The apparel section you ask? Some of the best lit apparel displays in all of retail (it’s an important selling technique) and a cut above the dying J.C. Penney (JCP). The only knock? Target still doesn’t carry Nike or Under Armour gear like apparel rival Kohl’s (KSS). The revamped food department — chock full of organics and brands you would think should be relegated to Whole Foods — is impressive. Want to know why Kroger’s (KR) sales have sucked for a while? Target, Target, Target.

The icing on the cake of the Target shopping experience? Overhauled Starbucks stores near the front of the store, bigger return and online pickup counters and more self-checkout registers — because who really wants to talk to anyone Saturday afternoon.

All of those things are captured via my photos below. It’s also captured in Target’s record high stock price and the $16 billion in market cap it has added since Jan. 31, 2019 (thank you Yahoo Finance Premium for that nugget). Now bring Geoffrey the Giraffe on Target’s homepage... it will make my Saturday’s that much brighter.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSozzi

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