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Target Corporation (TGT - Analyst Report), the operator of general merchandise and food discount stores in the United States, announced the opening of its third store in Baltimore, Maryland.

The new 135,000 square feet store is slated to open in October 2013 and would hire 200 employees. So far, the company has announced its plans to open 14 Target stores in 2013.

The move reflects the company’s strategic initiative to consolidate its position in regions where it generates strong sales. In a similar effort, the company announced the opening of a new store in Lawton, Oklahoma, earlier this week. The Oklahoma store is slated to open in July 2013 and would hire 200–250 employees.

Alongside, Target is seeking promising expansion opportunities in international markets such as Canada and Latin America and revealed its plans to introduce smaller-format stores called CityTarget, similar to that of its biggest rival, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT - Analyst Report). The company will open its first store in Canada in 2013.

Target is also focusing on store renovations and improving store sales productivity. The company plans to  sustain its remodelling program at existing general merchandise locations, which include an expanded grocery offering, improved store layout and enhancement of in-store shopping experience across departments, such as apparel, home, beauty, shoes, and baby.

Going forward, Target’s efficient marketing, multi-channel strategy, innovative product offering, compelling pricing strategy, new merchandise assortments and expanded store base are expected to drive comparable store sales and operating margins over the long term.

We expect the company to gain market share, and believe that the focus on consumable items should boost sales. The company expects low single-digit increase in December comparable store sales.

Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Target Corporation operates through 1,782 stores in U.S. Currently, we prefer to have a long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock. Moreover, Target holds a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term Hold rating.

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