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Target tries out ‘beauty concierges’ in select Chicago stores

Target Corp will stop selling Inc.’s Kindle bre-readers tablets after two years.The nation's second largest discount retailer will continue

Target Corp, will stop selling Inc.’s Kindle brand of e-readers and tablets after two years.The nation's second largest discount retailer will continue to offer similar products from Apple Inc. and Barnes & Noble Inc.

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Updated: August 20, 2012 11:55AM

Shoppers in some Chicago-area Target stores might be surprised to find the beauty section decked out with high-tech concierges who come equipped with iPads, wear black instead of the signature red and know all about the latest in beauty and cosmetics.

The Minneapolis-based company launched the “beauty concierge” program in 28 out of about 75 Chicago-area stores. The attendants provide shoppers with product information and a “brand agnostic friendly face,” Target spokesman Evan Miller said.

One concierge is posted in each store for about 40 hours a week, depending on location. They’re identified with name tags, wear aprons over all-black uniforms and tote tablet computers, mirrors and product samples.

Chicago was chosen as the testing ground because of its variety of shoppers and types of Target store formats, Miller said. Concierges are employed by New York-based marketing company Brand Connections, which began working with Target on the program about 10 months ago.

“We know that our guests expect and want a sophisticated shopping experience while still achieving a lower price point,” Miller said. “Our goal is to provide them with (an) experience that they may receive at a higher end retailer while still shopping for everything they want and need in a Target store.”

Miller said the test is part of a beauty department redesign the company began in 2010 to make items easier to find and provide customers with more product information.

The concierge program will be tested for about nine months in Chicago before the company decides whether or not to expand it to 400 to 450 stores across the country, Miller said.

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