Minneapolis entrepreneur George Draper Dayton opened the Dayton Dry Goods Company--a six-story department store--in 1902. A devout Presbyterian, Dayton established a strict set of principles that would steer and shape his enterprise for years to come. Though the founder passed away in 1938, his son Nelson inherited control of the multimillion-dollar company and helped the business grow in spite of World War II putting strain on the country. When Nelson Dayton died in 1950, the family business was inherited by five cousins who secularized the company in order to make it more competitive. As part of a more aggressive expansion plan, the Dayton Company opened its first Target discount store in 1962.
With acquisitions of the J.L. Hudson Company and Mervyn's during the '60s and '70s, the parent corporation became one of the top retail giants in the country, but Target soon established itself as the biggest moneymaking enterprise. Target stores had spread across the country, and the company began opening SuperTarget locations to keep up with other discount retailers like Walmart. Since the last members of the Dayton family had retired in the 1980s, the company was renamed the Target Corporation in the year 2000 to better reflect its core business. Today, there are almost 2,000 Target stores doing business in the U.S. and more than 100 in Canada. Target has a history of creating and distributing its own exclusive brands of goods in addition to stocking major national brands.
The bulk of Target's exclusive apparel is manufactured under labels like Merona, Mossimo, or Xhilaration, but other garments are simply branded with the Target name. The company's generic brand typically features products that will only be available for a limited time--usually because they are specific to a certain season or holiday. Target graphic tees might honor events like Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, the 4th of July, Halloween, or Christmas with fun prints that capture the spirit of these holidays. Some baby clothes like onesies, bodysuits, and footed pajamas are also usually produced and sold with Target labels during these celebrations. For Halloween, in particular, a huge supply of basic costume pieces is available from the Target brand. Most of these are relatively generic costumes because they don't have any sort of licensing agreements associated with them. Target will also make stuffed animals and other small toys throughout the year that feature the store's logo and will be appreciated by kids of all ages.
Since the retailer has made such an emphasis on promoting its other exclusive lines, the selection of Target-branded merchandise is always relatively minimal. Still, the apparel, accessories, and toys that are available with simple Target labels are always made to be high quality because the company puts its name on these items. Holiday shirts are fun and festive, and Target makes sure to come up with new and distinctive designs each year. Toys and accessories are likewise well made even if they are usually a little generic. We give Target 4 stars out of 5.