March 3, 2011
The latest on Target’s arrival to Puerto Rico is that the mass retailer first will begin its Canadian expansion, leaving its local arrival for 2012, CARIBBEAN BUSINESS learned. This means the first Target store for Puerto Rico will open sometime between mid-2013 and early 2014, right before the middle of the decade, as Target’s own chairman, president & CEO, Gregg Steinhafel, forecast.
“We are coming to Puerto Rico. It is at the core of our strategic-development plans,” confirmed a Target real-estate executive during an exclusive interview. The Target source also indicated the company looked at several developers to help with the expansion plans.
However, he declined to indicate which developer or developers they are in conversations with at this time, simply stating it is a well-established Puerto Rican company with vast experience in commercial, residential and institutional development. “They will likely partner with other local companies for Target’s overall development in Puerto Rico,” the Target source said.
The latest development on Target’s arrival comes on the heels of Steinhafel telling company managers that Target began exploring international- expansion possibilities by focusing first on Puerto Rico and Canada as ideal entry points. “Entry to Canada happened sooner simply because two deals already were fairly advanced and those will happen first; however, that isn’t to say that we [Target] won’t go to Puerto Rico but rather that it will be toward 2012,” the executive reiterated.
Meanwhile, Target’s arrival has put on alert local retailers, specifically Walmart, the island’s largest retailer, which has sped up its own expansion plans with the opening of additional Walmart and Sam’s Club stores on the island.
Efforts by the Minneapolis-based mass retailer to consider expansion to the Puerto Rico market go as far back as 15 years. Notwithstanding, the fast-growing fashion-driven mass retailer has been laser-focused on its U.S. mainland expansion during the past few years.
Local retail experts also point out that Target will have to deal with Puerto Rico’s own Target Rental Car, a local family-owned car-rental operation, which has operated successfully for decades using the same Target name and logo as the mass retailer. So far, there have been no formal conversations between Target and the local car-rental company to address that issue.