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An inside look at top retailers and the consumers they covet

Target will roll out a mobile payment system later this year

Target will roll out a mobile payment option that can be used in stores through one of its apps later this year, according to a report by Recode.

A Target spokesman confirmed the report but did not offer any other details.

It's not a huge surprise that Target is going this route given that many of its competitors such as Kohl's and Wal-Mart have launched mobile payment features in their apps in the last year. At the same time, other retailers such as Best Buy allow customers to check out in stores using Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay.

Meanwhile, Target had put rolling out a mobile payment system on the backburner as it first focused on rolling out chip-and-PIN readers and chip-based payment cards in the aftermath of its data breach. More recently, it prioritized getting its website up to snuff and on other core projects.

Mike McNamara, Target's chief information officer, told the Star Tribune last year that it was not one of the top 80 projects the company had initially green lighted after he first joined the company in 2015. Instead, it was one of the 700-plus projects that were sidelined at the time.

"We constantly re-evaluate mobile mobile and I've no doubt we'll do it," he said last summer. "But you look at the uptake of mobile wallets that are out there and it's still pretty disappointing."

He added then that Target executives would re-evaluate it every six months or so. Well, it appears a mobile wallet option has now made the list of active projects.

McNamara told Recode at the National Retail Federation conference last week that Target plans to introduce a mobile payment feature to at least one of its apps that will initially be just for Redcard holders.

Two Twin Cities wine stores to close in Total Wine's backyard

When Total Wine began opening stores in the Twin Cities in 2014, many predicted the competition would dwindle as they faced the low-priced behemoth.

Maybe it's too soon to see the fallout, but the predictions haven't come true yet. Only a handful of closings have ocurred. Century Liquor announced its closing in 2015 the day after Total Wine announced it would open a new store in Chanhassen (which opened in 2016).

Customers of Century Liquor received this email:  “Last night, the Chanhassen City Council has passed the eighth liquor license within the city limits. With this new development, the owners of Century Wine & Spirits have made the very difficult decision to close the store. After all, there is only so much of the pie that can be truly divided up between all the liquor stores in Chanhassen. Thus, the owners feel they can no longer run a viable business in the future.”

Representatives at Haskell's in Burnsville had a similar story when it closed in early 2015. Haskell's franchisee Jay Nelson told the Sun This Week newspaper at the time that the city of Burnsville was allowing too many liquor licenses (five), making competition fierce.

The latest to close include Cost Plus World Market wine shops in Bloomington and Maple Grove. Both are currently selling everything at 50 percent off and are expected to shut down soon due to limited selection. A staff person in World Market in Bloomington said Monday that business was tough in a spot where they shared the same parking lot as Total Wine. It appears the closer a wine shop or liquor store is to Total Wine the more vulnerable it is.