BRADENTON, Fla. -- A Target store here is believed to be the first in this state to get a wine section that is common by now for SuperTarget stores.
Set up on the corporate level by sommelier and author Andrea Immer, the wine section is reportedly being rolled out to all Targets, depending on state laws regulating the sale of wine. There are 13 such sections now in Florida, following a successful test in California, according to a published report.
The Target here, in an affluent Gulf Coast resort near cultural hub Sarasota, was recently remodeled, according to a store-level source, making it logical to create a wine department at the same time. Now it offers more than 100 varieties of wine, many from California, ranging in price from $3.99 to about $12 a bottle.
The section is located in a New Market concept, the store source told SN, right past the waters and near soda, in the first 10 aisles, and just before the pharmacy. The 28-foot section takes up a whole side of an aisle, he said. It was set up in mid-June.
Under the Immer planogram, "We start with the plain colors, and go from clear, to white, yellow, darker, and jump from light flavor to fuller," he said. A large sign above describes what kind of taste each wine delivers. For example, a section labeled Step Four: Oaky Flavor, wine aged in oak barrels, tells what that does for a wine, and below are stocked Chardonnay and dark Cabernets from several wineries, like Sutter Home. Prices range from $7 to $11.99 in that section, the store source said.
He said consumer response was quiet for the first couple of weeks, since no advertising was done, but as word spread, interest grew, and now "the last two weeks, it's been flying out of here."
Target headquarters in Minneapolis could not be reached for comment.
Most SuperTargets have been carrying wine for several years, but the chain has none of those combination grocery/general merchandise stores in Sarasota or Palm Beach County, where two more Targets just added wine departments, in Greenacres and west of Boca Raton, according to a published report. The report quoted a Target spokeswoman as saying the retailer believed customers will appreciate the added convenience of one less stop.
"It's very consistent with their general image strategy for food and beverage," said Jeff Smith, global managing partner of Accenture's retail and consumer goods practice, based in Detroit.
The "Tar-zhey" shopper, he said, giving the name the faux-French spin popular among its fans, remains upscale discount. "They have coined the market for it," Smith said. "Whether it's SuperTarget or some of the things they have selectively added, they are clearly intended to round out the basket for the shopper they keep attracting, who sees shopping at Target as an affirmation of their smart, upscale, upper middle-class status."
Smith said that unlike the demographic that other mass merchants strive to attract -- coupon-cutting, budget-minded consumers -- Target shoppers seek value, even if they have to spend a little more. Target shoppers will walk the store, like in a Trader Joe's, Smith said.
The merchandising strategy will feature some atmosphere of a small specialty wine retailer that plays more to the gourmet style of showing, by the signage, that the shopper is looking for a solution, rather than shopping for wine by country. The help afforded by the set also makes it easier to self-serve, he noted.