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LACEY,WA- After several years of wooing by local officials, Target Corp. has selected Thurston County as the site of its latest distribution center. The Minneapolis-based company has purchased a 122-acre site, where it plans to construct a 1.5 million-sf import center.

The warehouse, which will be built north of Interstate 5, at the southeast corner of Marvin and Hawks Prairie roads, is expected to house various products imported from the Pacific Rim — including electrinics and clothes — for distribution to regional hubs across the country.

Target had told local officials in April that Lacey was among three cities it was considering for an import center. Thurston County had been a contender in the early ’90s too.

Construction is slated to begin this fall, with completion sometime in 2003. The import center, combined with Target’s two Thurston County stores will employ nearly 700 people, making the general merchandiser one of the county’s major employers.

Target also released an earnings report this week, stating that its net retail sales for the five weeks ended July 7 increased 7.1% to $3.38 billion from $3.16 billion for the five-week period ended July 1, 2000. Comparable-store sales increased 0.8% from June 2000.

At month-end, the company operated 1,320 stores in 46 states. This included 990 Target stores, 266 Mervyn’s stores and 64 Marshall Field’s stores.

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