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Target Aims ‘P-Fresh’ at Philadelphia

Target’s “P-fresh” grocery concept is making its way to Philadelphia.

MINNEAPOLIS — Target’s “P-fresh” grocery concept is making its way to Philadelphia.

P-fresh — or “prototype-fresh” — is Target’s name for renovated discount stores with extra floor space devoted to groceries, including produce, meats and bakery items. The retailer has rolled out the concept to about 40 stores so far, mainly in the Minneapolis area. Officials yesterday said the concept will be introduced to 30 stores in the Philadelphia region over the next few months.

Speaking in a conference call yesterday discussing quarterly results, Gregg Steinhafel, president and chief executive officer of Target, said P-fresh departments have exceeded expectations, although the performance at specific locations has varied due to the size of the expansion.

“In some cases where we’re expanding our food footprint by 200%, we’re seeing a much larger increase than in more recently built stores where the increase in food is much less than that. But the overall performance has been very, very solid.”

Target’s net earnings of $594 million for the second quarter ended Aug. 1 were down 6.3% from the same period last year, but the figure was higher than the retailer or Wall Street had expected. Target officials credited gross margin improvements and reductions in costs, including lower transportation expenses. Sales of $14.6 billion were down by 2.7%, and comparable-store sales were down 6.2%, as store traffic slowed and sales of discretionary items fell as the result of the economy. Target shares were up by more than 7% Tuesday.

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