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Target tries to lure budget shoppers with US$2 toiletries

New York

WATCH out dollar stores, Target Corp wants to steal your shoppers.

The Minneapolis-based retailer is introducing Smartly, a line of essentials and personal-care products mainly priced under US$2, for budget-conscious consumers who don't want to buy in bulk.

It's in step with Target's strategy to offer new brands to get customers excited. It has added a dozen over the past year in categories like apparel and home decor, and it's started to pay off.

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The discount market is crowded - increasingly so since the arrival in the US of German chain Aldi, which is blanketing the country with no-frills stores and quickly becoming popular among Americans.

The competition for Target is getting fiercer online, too. Walmart Inc has been boosting investments in e-commerce to catch up with Amazon.com Inc, an ever-present threat that keeps expanding its offerings.

Smartly, available mid-October in Target stores and online, will also go after customers of value products from stores like Dollar General Corp and Dollar Tree Inc.

Prices for Smartly products, which include body lotions, razor blades and all-purpose cleaners, range from 59 US cents to US$11.99. But most items are less than US$2, Target said.

The products are aimed at those who buy products in small quantities. Most of them will be sold as single items or in small multi-packs to lure shoppers who live in small spaces, like students.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported the introduction of Smartly. BLOOMBERG