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Supervisor: Sign request shows progress for Target store

Observer photo by Dennis Phillips Pat McLaughlin, Ellicott supervisor, is optimistic the new Target store will be opened by the end of the year in the former Kmart building along Fairmount Avenue.

“I’m as anxious as everybody in the town and the surrounding area,” is how Pat McLaughlin, Ellicott town supervisor, described the progress being made by Target officials toward opening a new location at the former Kmart building along Fairmount Avenue.

McLaughlin said Target officials have officially scheduled to attend an Ellicott Town Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals meeting next month.

“They are planning to come before the planning board with a sign request,” he said. “There are little bits of pieces, like the sign request, that show they are moving forward.”

McLaughlin said Target officials don’t plan to tear down the former Kmart building and will be renovating the building instead.

“The construction, from what I understand, is they aren’t tearing down the building and building another. They are planning cosmetic renovations like the former garden center at Kmart will be the pick-up area at Target,” he said. “I would hope they would be opened before the end of the year.”

Last month, the Minneapolis-based company reported that its third-quarter profits rose nearly 47%, while sales increased 13.2%, both exceeding expectations.

Comparable sales grew 12.7% in the third quarter, reflecting comparable store sales growth of 9.7% and comparable digital sales growth of 29%. Total revenue of $25.7 billion grew 13.3% compared with last year, driven by total sales growth of 13.2% and a 22.3% increase in other revenue. Operating income was $2 billion in third quarter 2021, up 3.9% from $1.9 billion in 2020.

Those results have led to Target officials continuing to expand at a time when some retailers are just trying to maintain their business during the pandemic and 2021’s shipping issues.

John Mulligan, Target chief operating officer, told investor analysts recently that Target has remodeled 145 of its stores in 2021, completing 40 remodels in just the third quarter of the year. Another 100 additional remodels are scheduled to be finished before Christmas. Target has also opened 15 new stores in the third quarter of 2021, bringing the year’s totals to 30.

Target has set its expansion sights on former Kmart locations. Early in 2021, the parent company of Kmart and Sears assigned five Kmart store leases to Target for properties in North Carolina, Wyoming, California, New Jersey and Maine. It was announced earlier this year that another former Kmart building in Lebanon County, Pa., will also be the home of a Target. And, in November, it was learned that the former Kmart location in West Ellicott will, at some point, house a Target.

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