Target ($NYSE:TGT) seems to buck retail trends time and again: down while others are up, up while others are down. As major retailers struggle to navigate an environment challenged by e-commerce, rising overhead, and high consumer metabolism, Target is reporting solid sales growth and analysts such as Nomura are issuing buy ratings.

One of the more telling data points is Target's sober growth since the 1970s as other chains have opened and close doors over the decades.

The number of Target stores is now approaching 1,900. While this is a fraction of the 5,358 Walmarts that currently operate in the US, it does show a measured, scalable approach on the part of Target.

That "measured, scalable" approach is illustrated in the above map, which shows how Target opens stores in areas that need them. In almost cases are Targets opened in areas that are already well-served, keeping demand just ahead of supply.

This isn't to say that Target is taking a passive approach to its retail-outlay strategy. For every Walmart location in the United States, for instance, there is an average of 0.95 — or almost one — Target location within 5 miles. That means that, in most cases, Walmart shoppers have the option to head to a nearby Target if they so desire.

In some cases, competition for customers with Walmart is fierce. In Skokie, Illinois, for instance, there are 16 Targets within 5 miles of each Walmart, for instance. In affluent Irvine, California, there are 12 Targets within 5 miles of every Walmart. 

City

# of Targets ~5 mi of Walmart

Skokie

16.00

Irvine

12.00

Garden Grove

11.67

Long Beach

10.60

Lakeside

10.00

Downey

9.33

La Habra

9.00

Chicago

8.00

Burbank

8.00

Teterboro

8.00

Target appears poised for more measured growth, as we reported earlier this year. And with the holiday season quickly approaching, the company looks set for another good year.

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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