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Target Hits the City Streets With 'To Go' Gifts

Friday, 4 Dec 2009 | 1:43 PM ET

Taking a cue from the recent flood of pop-up stores, discount retailer Target is opening three temporary Target To-Go locations this holiday, catering to busy city-dwellers shopping on a budget.

Target to Go
Source: Target
Target to Go

Only these stores come with a twist. Instead of renting space in an already-existing building, the Target To-Go locations were built solely for three-day retail events, and they're modeled more similarly to walk-up burger huts than shopping centers.

Customers line up in front of the store's three windows, where they're handed an order form with a list of 50 items for sale inside.

Consumer Nation Holiday Central Edition
Consumer Nation Holiday Central Edition

They then step up to the window, say "I'll take item number 37," and receive an already-wrapped box filled with their gift.

"This holiday, we wanted to give our urban markets a little slice of Target ," said Shawn Gensch, Target’s vice president of marketing. "We're always trying to reach out to our guests in new and interesting ways."

The gifts are drawn from a wide-array of product categories, including toys, gadgets, and home décor, and range in price from a $149.99 Kodak digital camera to a $29.99 Razor scooter to a $10 Transformers action figure.

Source: Target

The stores also will give shoppers a chance to buy apparel designed exclusively for Target by high-fashion designer Rodarte ahead of its debut in stores on Dec. 20.

Pop-up stores have been arising more frequently since the economic downturn, as commercial property values have plummeted 37 percent compared to one year ago.

They've taken many different forms, as retailers look to capitalize on desperate landlords who have become much more willing to dole out temporary leases.

In November, EA Sports launched two one-month locations for consumers to test out the latest installment in its athletic software, EA Sports Active More Workouts. In October, temporary Halloween stores flourished around the US, as specialty retailers took advantage of 17-year high commercial vacancy rates.

Also this holiday, Toys 'R Us launched 350 "Holiday Express" stores across the country, while Spirit Halloween, known for its temporary Halloween locations, entered the toy market with 25 seasonal stores.

Target's pop-up locations will be based in New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., from December 11 to 13. They will be the only Target stores in the former two cities, though there are rumors that the retailer plans to open a permanent spot in San Francisco.

Along with increasing its presence in urban areas, Targethas been gunning for sales from bargain-hungry shoppers this holiday, competing with Wal-Mart in price wars over who has the cheapest toys and DVDs. But these stores may draw more from Target's heritage as a purveyor of inexpensive chic items.

Questions? Comments? Email us at consumernation@cnbc.com

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