With everything from Chip and Joanna Gaines's modern farmhouse pieces to minimalist housewares by Made by Design, Target is one of our favorite places to shop quality home goods with impeccable style. Whether we're browsing the aisles for new clothing collections, electronics, or even groceries, we can never resist peeking into the home décor section—but aside from their enticing assortment of products, what do we really know about the retail giant?
Considering our love for Target and its stylish selections, we set out to learn more about the facts behind our favorite store. After discovering its history, shopping hacks, mark-down tips, and even fun details about its mascot (the adorable English bull terrier named Bullseye), we're fairly certain that we're now certified pros in Target trivia. So if you love seeing the red bullseye as much as we do, our findings may surprise you—and they might even save you money on your next trip.
Keep scrolling to learn little-known facts about Target and boost your shopping knowledge.
Target Rose From the Ashes
In 1902, real estate developer George Draper Dayton convinced Goodfellows Dry Goods to rent the building he had constructed in place of a burned-down church on Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis, MN, by becoming a partner in the business. Soon after, he became sole owner of the store, renaming it Dayton Dry Goods Company (known as Target Corporation today).
Dayton Dry Goods was the fourth largest department store in Minneapolis at its beginning, and its ownership was passed down through several family generations. The company started a line of furnishings, fabrics, and decorations for commercial interiors under the name Dayton's. In 1962, the first Target store opened as a place destined to "combine the best of the fashion world with the best of the discount world," according to Target's history timeline.
Target Made History
In the 1980s, the remaining Dayton family members retired from the Board of Directors, bringing the family's direct involvement to an end after 80 years. By 1988, Target became the first mass merchandiser to implement bar-code scanners for its products, creating a shorter wait time for customers at checkout lines (to its shoppers' delight).
By March 1993, Target opened 11 stores in the Chicago metropolitan area—all on the same day. This history-making feat is still a record number. Six years later, their mascot made his debut: Bullseye, an English bull terrier (actually a dog named Arielle), captured customer's hearts for the first time.
Target Schedules Mark-Downs
Let's say you've had your eye on a Target product, but you don't want to pay full price. Scoring a deal on something before it sells out depends on the day you choose to make that Target run. Typically, you can expect any item's first markdown price to be 15 or 30 percent off, according to AllThingsTarget.com (a site dedicated to those who love to shop there). Look for markdowns on everything from beauty products to sporting goods on the following days of the week:
- Monday: Accessories; Baby; Books; Electronics; Kids' clothing; Stationery
- Tuesday: Women's clothing; Pets; Food items
- Wednesday: Men's clothing; Beauty; Diapers; Lawn/Garden; Furniture
- Thursday: Housewares; Lingerie; Shoes; Toys; Sporting goods; Décor; Luggage
- Friday: Auto; Cosmetics; Hardware; Jewelry
Target's Price Tags Reveal All
According to one coupon guide, when you're shopping in-store and you see a price ending in $0.06 or $0.08, it means that Target will mark that item down again (as long as inventory exists) after two weeks have elapsed. But when a price ends in $0.04, it's usually considered "final clearance," and is the lowest possible cost for that item.
When a Target item is marked down, the number printed in the upper right-hand corner of its price tag connotes the percentage by which it has been discounted.
Target Knows When You're Expecting
In a Big Brother-esque twist, Forbes maintains that “Target has figured out how to data-mine its way into your womb, to figure out whether you have a baby on the way long before you need to start buying diapers.”
This somewhat unsettling revelation came on the heels of a story The New York Times ran about a father’s indelicate discovery of his teenage daughter's pregnancy. His complaints to Target about receiving seemingly random diaper coupons pointed to hard data that—correctly—suggested she was pregnant.
Bullseye Flies First Class
Target's mascot, Bullseye, was first introduced to Target's marketing plan in 1999—but the total number of Bullseye dogs the company has used in the last 20 years remains a closely guarded secret.
Fun fact: According to A Bullseye View (Target's corporate blog), the red bullseye pattern on the dog's face is a vegetable-based, nontoxic paint that's actually approved by the Humane Society. Perhaps the most pampered pooch this side of Minneapolis, the VIP pup has a closet full of custom-made outfits for special events, including an Iditarod parka and booties, and he's even been spotted flying first class.
Target Gives Back
Target currently invests five percent of its profits into the communities it serves, especially via its Target Foundation. In 2020, the company pledged an additional $10 million to advance social justice and support rebuilding and recovery efforts in local communities.
Since 1994, its plastic hangers have been recycled via a closed-loop, zero-waste reuse program. And according to Target's blog, "In 2017 alone, the number of hangers we saved from landfills could circle the globe nearly five times." The company also gives customers back five cents per each reusable bag used during checkout, returning more than $3.5 million to its customers in 2018.
Target has even committed to sourcing 100 percent sustainable cotton products by 2022—and it's now working with Nest Ethical Handcraft Program to give shoppers clearer indications that certain handmade items are responsibly sourced in other countries. Freshwater stewardship, a willingness to reduce its carbon footprint, and a general commitment to diversity and inclusion in its workforce are a few more of the company's tenets (and its list of philanthropic and eco-conscious causes goes on).
Returns Are Always Free
Regardless of whether you purchased your Target product in-store or online, returns by mail never incur shipping fees. Simply visit the online return center, print out a prepaid label, and ship your return. Plus, if you'd like to return something in-store but you don't have your receipt, Target's Guest Service can easily find it via your original method of payment.
Target Is An Innovator
Despite the demise of former discount retailers like JCPenney, Kmart, and Sears, in today's retail landscape, Target has grown to be the country's eighth-largest retail brand. The company's retail sales surged past $77 billion in 2019. And while its profits rise, Target is also rising to the climate's growing challenges. In 2018 alone, the store opened around 30 smaller-scale store formats, adapting to the changing needs of shoppers in urban areas and those near college campuses.
Fast Company named Target one of the world's 50 most innovative companies in 2019, largely due to its creation of in-house brands that have garnered loyal followings. Along with stellar products, the company was the first major retailer to permanently increase its starting wages to $15 per hour, which began in July 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic.