US value retailer Target Corp. today (18 August) laid out plans to place more emphasis on selling grocery products in its stores.

The company, which sells food alongside apparel, general merchandise and electronics, is looking to expand the amount of grocery lines it sells and position the business as a “one-stop shop”, executive vice president for merchandising Kathy Tesija said.

Tesija said the downturn had meant consumers were spending less on non-essential items but more on groceries. “With the greater focus on needs-based shopping trips, it’s not surprising that food continues to be among our strongest categories,” she told analysts. 

“Even while we’re experiencing price deflation on some food items, the grocery category continues to see positive comps overall, benefitting from increased space and emphasis in our general merchandise stores and continued development in our own brands, which now account for more than 20% of our food sales.”

Target plans to roll out P-Fresh, a fresh foods programme present in 40 outlets, into 100 stores by the end of its current fiscal year. In the next two months, some 30 stores in Philadelphia will launch the P-Fresh programme, Tesija said.

“We intend to incorporate this expanded food offering into a substantial portion of our chain over the next three years, dramatically improving our ability to deliver the convenience of a one-stop shopping experience.”

Earlier today, Target insisted its second-quarter earnings were “stronger than expected” despite a 6% fall in sales driving down profits.

Shares in Target, however, were up 7.4% at US$44.26 at 12:03 EST this afternoon.