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An inside look at top retailers and the consumers they covet

Don Pablo's closes its Richfield location; only one left in Twin Cities

And then there was one. Only the Don Pablo's in Eden Prairie remains after the Richfield location closed Monday. It's been a sad spring and summer as more than a dozen Twin Cities restaurants have closed from four restaurants near the U's Minneapolis campus to several downtown Minneapolis closures including Ichiban.

Don Pablo's had at least seven locations that have closed locally, including Eagan, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, Roseville, Woodbury, Bloomington and now Richfield. The Maple Grove store closed earlier this year.

In 2009, the owner of the chain declared bankruptcy when 91 locations remained. Many locations stayed open after the restructuring but then closed a few at a time. According to the company's website, 19 DP restaurants remain open in Florida, Indiana, Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and Virginia.

Select items from the commercial kitchen of the Richfield restaurant are already being auctioned online at Auction Nation. The auction closes Tuesday, Aug. 30, at noon.

Target CFO gives Best Buy props on a good quarter

Last week, Target reported a double-digit decline in electronics sales, a big factor in its quarterly sales slide. Then on Tuesday, Best Buy, the nation's largest electronics chain, reported a surprising sales bump.

The very disparate results raised a number of eyebrows -- including over at Target's headquarters.

Speaking at a local investors conference this morning, Target Chief Financial Officer Cathy Smith brought it up herself and gave props to Target's Minnesota neighbor.

"We're sitting here saying, 'Gosh, our electronics assortment is not where it needs to be. We're not seeing the innovation in the categories.'" she said. "And then Best Buy -- I'll give this one to them. They had a good quarter." 

She noted in passing that the two chains have different assortments. (Best Buy, for example, has a big appliance business which has helped it weather the downward spiral in smartphones.) 

"But it doesn't matter," she said. "We still have some work to do."

She said Target has been increasing its assortment in up-and-coming categories such as virtual reality and the Internet of things and will continue to do so.

Smith also hinted that Target is considering shrinking the physical space it dedicates to electronics in its stores since electronics sales are increasingly moving online. "So what is the right footprint in our stores?"

Smith was speaking at the InvestMNt conference sponsored by the CFA Society of Minnesota.  

During her presentation, she ran through the several factors that Target executives told investors last week contributed to the 2.2 percent drop in traffic in the second quarter. Electronics was one of them.

The others were not enough emphasis in store displays and ads on its low-priced items or the "Pay Less" part of its brand promise, the disruption from transferring its pharmacies to the CVS banner and a reset of the products in its grocery aisles.

In April, Target added about 1,000 organic, natural and other better-for-you products to its grocery shelves. In the process, every item in that department was shifted, irritating some customers who had to search harder to find what they were looking for.

"People are creatures of habit and when you move their cheese, they get upset -- and reasonably so," she said.