NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I lived in San Francisco between 1999 and 2006.I visited this past weekend (to chat with Pandora ( P) co-founder Tim Westergren for Tuesday's first edition of TheBeach Meets TheStreet). While in town, I gave myself a tour of Target's ( TGT) "urban concept" locations. One will occupy a former Mervyn's site, adjacent to a Best Buy ( BBY). But, don't worry, that banner in the picture reassures browsers and showroomers that Best Buy remains open during construction. This site is near the University of San Francisco campus, which makes sense; Target located one of its Southern California "City Targets" adjacent to UCLA. Like the LA outpost, the San Francisco store is also a stone's throw away from a Trader Joe's.
Calling what Target is doing in the urban core a "concept" makes it sound all-too-sophisticated. It's nothing but an urban planning and design workaround. There's resistance to huge big box stores in places such as San Francisco. Therefore, Target compromises and opens slightly smaller stores. Two -- Even though it's unimaginative, it will work, at least in San Francisco and probably elsewhere.
On average, SuperTargets take up the most square footage at 177,291 apiece. Expanded food stores come in at 129,281 per. General merchandise stores run 119,084 square feet each. And CityTargets are not too far behind thus far at 102,800 square feet per location. Once inside you really cannot tell the difference between the stores, with SuperTarget the obvious exception.I probably shouldn't expect a run-of-the-mill retailer like Target to do anything but mail it in. It knows it can drive revenue in places like San Francisco. So, at least from today's perspective, it sees no reason to break ground on anything but smaller stores. That's disappointing. Follow @rocco_thestreet -- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.