Target Corporation has grown from its 1902 origins as a small Minneapolis dry goods store into one of the largest retailers in the US, expanding nationwide with its discount store concept by the 1990s before retrenching its focus solely on that format in the 2000s.

The company has focused on adapting to e-commerce and leveraging delivery partnerships in recent years, pioneering sustainability initiatives like its first net-zero emissions store opened in 2022.

BIRTH & EARLY GROWTH (1902-1981)

the first Goodfellow store that would turn into Target
© History Oasis

1902 — Goodfellow Dry Goods

George Dayton opens Goodfellow Dry Goods in Minneapolis after Westminster Presbyterian Church appeals to him to purchase a corner lot to rebuild after a fire.

Dayton constructs a 6-story building and convinces Goodfellows department store to move in.

He operates it under strict Presbyterian guidelines such as no Sunday business.

1910 — Dayton’s Dry Goods

Store is renamed the Dayton's Dry Goods Company.

By the 1920s, it fills the entire 6-story building.

1962 — First Target Store

The first Target store opens in Roseville, Minnesota led by Douglas Dayton.

It pioneers the upscale discount retail concept.

By 1964, there are 5 Target stores.

1967 — Target Bullseye Logo

Parent company renamed Dayton Corporation.

In 1968, the modern Target bullseye logo is introduced.

By 1969 there are 9 Target stores.

1969 — 14th Largest Retailer in the US

Dayton Company merges with J.L. Hudson Company of Detroit.

The combined company is called the Dayton-Hudson Corporation.

It is the 14th largest US retailer.

1970 — $200 Million

Target sales reach $200 million as the discount stores begin to overshadow department stores.

The company moves its headquarters into the new IDS Center in Minneapolis.

1978 — Mervyn’s

Dayton-Hudson acquires West Coast retailer Mervyn's with 300 stores in 16 states.

This fuels Target's growth.

1981 — Rapid Expansion

Dayton-Hudson is 7th largest US general merchandise retailer with over $3 billion in sales.

Rapid expansion continues with acquisition of Ayr-Way stores.


a Target in the 80s
© History Oasis

1982 — FedMart

Target expands into the West Coast by acquiring 33 FedMart stores in California and Texas.

This establishes a presence on the West Coast with a new distribution center in Los Angeles.

1986 — Gemco

Acquisition of 50 Gemco stores from Lucky Stores makes Target the dominant discount retailer in Southern California.

A 5th distribution center opens in Colorado.

1993 — Target Greatland

The first Target Greatland store opens in Apple Valley, MN as a larger hypermarket format.

By 1991 there are 43 Greatland stores.

1995 — Guest Card

Target launches its Guest Card credit and debit card, the first such offering in discount retail.

The Omaha Greatland store becomes the first SuperTarget hypermarket.

1997 — $20 Billion

Store count totals 796 units in 38 states with $20 billion in sales.

Target looks to fuel growth as department stores struggle.

1999 — Fedco

Acquisition of Fedco and its 10 stores allows Target to expand its SuperTarget concept in Southern California.

This sets the stage for the renaming to Target Corporation as the discount chain now provides 75-80% of revenue.


a modern Target
© History Oasis

2000 — Target Corporation

With over 75% of revenue from Target stores, the parent company Dayton-Hudson is renamed Target Corporation.

Focus shifts to growing the discount chain and using department stores to fuel that growth.

2001 — 1,000 Stores

To create a unified brand, Dayton's and Hudson's department stores are renamed as Marshall Field's stores.

By now Target has over 1,000 store locations.

2007 — Steinhafel

Gregg Steinhafel takes over as CEO from Bob Ulrich, retiring after 35 years.

Steinhafel continues expanding Target's grocery and global technology operations.

2013 — Data Breach

Massive data breach impacts over 110 million Target customers during the holiday season, one of the largest retail hacks.

2015 — Canada Failure

After failed Canadian expansion, Target exits the country, closing 133 stores that led to over $2 billion in losses.

2017 — Shipt

Target acquires same-day delivery platform Shipt for $550 million to compete with Amazon and other retailers.

2020 — E-Commerce Boom

Target sees booming e-commerce sales during COVID-19, leading market share gains.

Focus on contactless pickup and delivery.

2022 — Renewable Energy Push

A new Target store in California features solar panels and all renewable energy, aiming to create a sustainable model for other locations.