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Back To School: Target Teams Up With Barnes & Noble To Take On Amazon's Big Man On Campus

Back To School: Target Teams Up With Barnes & Noble To Take On Amazon's Big Man On Campus
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What did you do on your summer vacation?

Well, Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) decided to team up with Barnes & Noble Education Inc. (NYSE: BNED) to fend off major moves by, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) to capture the coveted college campus market.

In a stunning back-to-school move, two companies with a heavy stake in the cool, college-age demo pooled their considerable presence in college communities to fend off the Godzilla-like encroachment of Amazon, which has been starting to school the competition in a figurative food fight for control.

Back-To-School Scale

Target CEO Brian Cornell, in a conference call with analysts earlier this week, said the cheap-but-hip retailer will offer products from at the BNED bookseller’s 800 college bookstore outlets serving 5 million students.

In a transcript of the conference call, he said Target is not only going after the college crowd, but those densely populated urban areas abandoned by retail for decades.

“On the way to transforming more than 600 stores over a 3-year period, nearly doubling the number of small-format stores are shared in support of our goal to open more than 100 new stores in dense urban, suburban and college campus neighborhoods over a 3-year period,” he told the analysts.

Barnes education, a spinoff of the big bookseller, has been entrenched in the college market for years. Target is one of the few big brick-and-mortar retailers successfully enduring the e-commerce juggernaut of Amazon, which is actually moving paradoxically into brick-and-mortar to meet its enemies on myriad playing fields.

What It Means

It means a war of opportunity for investors. The trade journal Retail Dive puts it this way:

“The news of Target’s tie-up with Barnes & Noble Education comes on the heels of Amazon’s announcement of a new free Instant Pickup service for Prime and Prime Student members, who can order from a selection of daily essentials for pickup in two minutes or less. Amazon also has several campus-based retail operations and pickup services, and the Target effort is an answer to that, according to Jim Fosina, CEO of Fosina Marketing Group.”

“Barnes & Noble’s education-based operations are strong and that makes this a ‘nice move’ for Target," Fosina told Retail Dive in an email.

Best Bet? Anybody’s Guess Because Wall Street

"Target partnering with Barnes & Noble stores doesn't create demand," Fosina told Retail Dive. "It provides an opportunity to build demand. The real success of the program is going to be the marketing effort here to incentivize and win over the student market. We shall see."

Related link:

Reverse Engineering: E-Commerce Behemoth Amazon Ironically Moves Into Brick-And-Mortar

Posted-In: Amazon Barnes & NobleEducation Psychology Tech Personal Finance Trading Ideas General Best of Benzinga


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