Store renovations and five other major changes coming to Target

A sign marks the location of a Target store on January 13, 2021 in Niles, Illinois.
NILES, ILLINOIS - JANUARY 13: A sign marks the location of a Target store on January 13, 2021 in Niles, Illinois. Photo credit Scott Olson/Getty Images

If you've gone shopping at a Target recently, then you've probably noticed a number of changes at your nearest store, and it's not just the new Starbucks inside.

Target has grown exponentially in the last five years, as the retail store is now the eighth largest chain in the country. With growth comes change: Company leaders say they've expanded and remodeled their interiors and have focused on providing customers with a modern shopping experience both in-person and online.

There are now 1,926 Target stores across the United States, and the company plans to keep expanding in 2022 after a strong 2021. There are 49 new Target locations over 19 states coming this year, according to the "upcoming locations" section on their website.

They opened up 32 new locations in 2021, and 28 of them were a new, smaller styled store that fit well in New York City or near a college campus.

Target also plans to update and renovate 200 stores this year, according to Eat This, Not That! These renovations include updating their displays to better catch the eyes of shoppers, expanding the spaces of online pickup areas, and upgrading their lighting.

Another major change that Target has recently put into effect is increasing the minimum wage for its workers. The company said in February that they will pay between $15 and $24 an hour, depending on the type of position and the location of the store.

They plan to spend $300 million on the workforce and will also allow employees who work a minimum average of 25 hours per week to become eligible to enroll in a company medical plan. The previous minimum to qualify for health benefits was an average of 30 hours of work per week.

A major driving forces for Target's growth throughout the COVID-19 pandemic was its same-day pickup service, experts said. It has increased by 400% since 2019, accounting for nearly half of their $13 billion digital growth. Users can easily place an order online and grab it -- along with a Starbucks latte -- at the Drive Up service.

Specialty coffee on demand is one of the many perks of shopping at Target.

Speaking of making online ordering easier, Target is adding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)-eligible grocery items to its website and making them available for Drive Up and Order Pickup services. SNAP provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of lower-income families so they can have the ability buy healthier foods.

Target has placed an emphasis on giving its customers healthier and more affordable food options over the past few years, and will continue to do so in 2022, reps say. They launched an in-store brand Good & Gather in 2019, and more recently, Favorite Day.

Rick Gomez, chief food and beverage officer at Target Corp., recently spoke to the Star Tribune about their own brands in the store, and the difference they're hoping to make for customers.

"We think about our owned brands as truly brands. Not labels but brands," Gomez said. "Good & Gather stands for high-quality ingredients, great taste and affordability. We made a commitment that it will have no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, no high-fructose corn syrup and it will be delicious and affordable.

"Favorite Day plays a different role in our portfolio. It is the craveable, indulgence sweets [and savories] there that's meant to be a little bit of a treat for yourself or for your family. We also have Market Pantry, which is a family favorite and is offered at a great value."

Featured Image Photo Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images