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Best of Target: a guide to shopping at the big-box retailer

Today officially marks the grand opening of 24 Target stores across Ontario after a month in soft-launch mode. The retailer’s move into Canada hasn’t been seamless (customers have complained about empty shelves, long line-ups at the registers and high prices compared to both competitor Walmart and Target’s U.S. locations), but there are still plenty of good reasons to trek out to one of the new stores. Below, what to look out for on your next trip.


Clever store design
The stores are shiny and bright, sunny staff members are everywhere and the aisles are wide enough for two of the whisper-quiet carts. Red assistance phones are scattered throughout, as are “help” buttons that, once pressed, announce loudly that an employee will arrive to assist you in 60 seconds or less. (We tested it: they did.)


Designer collaborations
Though men’s and women’s clothing by the in-house brands can be unremarkable, Target’s buzzy collaborations with top designers merit the hype. If you’re looking to score a piece, know that new shipments of the current Roots collaboration line come in each week (and go fairly fast), and Hollywood stylist Kate Young’s party dress collection will hit stores on April 14.


Deceptively cheap home accessories
Removed from their discount store surroundings, Target’s glass vases, picture frames, and other decorative knick-knacks can look high-end (or at the very least West Elm-worthy). The metallic and leather pieces from Nate Berkus’ exclusive-to-Target line of accessories are particularly strong.


Whimsical kids’ clothing
Target’s bright and cheerful aesthetic lends itself to children’s clothing like frilly bathing suits fit for aspiring princesses and twee infant clothes (including a romper dotted with tiny anchors) for under $15. Skater and boarder Shaun White’s line for boys is a dependable source for tees in the $7–$8 range.


Trendy accessories 
At $30–$40, faux-leather purses are perfect for testing out a new trend. Sharp-eyed shoppers can also find attractive ties by in-house brand Merona and, occasionally, expensive-looking flats and sandals.


Cell phone trade-ins
Trade in a old phones—even an utterly dead one—for store credit towards any electronics. Staff can tell you the market value of your device in under a minute. As a guide, a mint-condition iPhone 5 will bring in about $400, a Samsung Galaxy Ace in good condition nets $25, and an antiquated flip phone might only bring in a measely $5.


Celebrity-approved cookware
The expansive cookware section includes lines by television foodies Paula DeenGiada De Laurentiis and Rachel Ray, alongside traditional offerings from Bialetti, Farberware and KitchenAid, and Riedel’s Vivant line of budget glassware.


Makeup
Though Shoppers Drug Mart has a wider variety of brands, Target’s blindingly bright beauty department goes deeper with the brands it does carry, which include CoverGirl and Burt’s Bees. Up and Up is a dependable in-house label, while Sonia Kashuk has decent brush kits. 


(Images: home decor section, help button, Roots section, sunglasses and electronic section, Kayla Rocca; dress, cookware, lamp and lipstick, Target Canada)

 

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