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Target Announces Nationwide RFID Rollout

The retailer is deploying item-level RFID-tagging for women's, baby and children's apparel, home décor and other key merchandise categories, at a dozen stores this year, and at all 1,795 of its U.S. stores in 2016.
By Claire Swedberg
May 20, 2015

Upscale discount retailer Target has joined the swelling ranks of U.S. chains that are adopting a company-wide RFID-tagging program to manage their inventory on an item-level basis at many or all stores. The company announced this week that it intends to take its RFID deployment live at some stores later this year, with plans to roll out the technology at all 1,795 of its store locations across the United States in 2016.

In an article posted in the Bullseye View section of Target's website yesterday, Keri Jones, the company's executive VP of global supply chain and operations, wrote, "We're working with key merchandise vendors on a fast-tracked timeline to begin inserting 'smart labels' on price tags that will help Target improve our inventory accuracy and enhance our ability to keep stores in stock."

Keri Jones
Target's deployment, Jones predicted in the Bullseye column, will be one of the largest RFID projects in the retail market.

The rollout will begin with about a dozen stores, says Eddie Baeb, a Target spokesperson, though he declines to reveal those stores' locations. The smart labels, made with passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags, will be attached to merchandise in "key categories," including women's, baby and kids' apparel, as well as home décor.

The deployment is intended to help Target manage its inventory throughout the supply chain, thereby reducing the risk of products being out of stock in stores. "We also expect RFID to help us better fulfill online orders placed for store pickup," Jones wrote, "which already account for 15 percent of Target.com purchases."

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