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One thing about this whole economic mess and its impact on retail that we haven’t gotten a strong grip on is why Target is faring so poorly while other discounters are able to keep their heads above water.Well, now Target is planning to combat its rough results (Q4 net income fell 41%) “plans to place greater emphasis on food, health-care products, personal items and other necessities, while offering fewer discretionary items to avoid big markdowns that have hobbled its earnings,” says one article.The problem, as one Target exec puts it, is that “perceptions do not reflect the reality” of Target’s comparable prices to Wal-Mart on everyday items. We were always under impression that Target and Wal-Mart essentially had different shoppers. Does that mean Wal-Mart has grabbed up some of that consumer base?One analyst argues that Target can’t “become too much like Wal-Mart because that would jeopardize their higher-end image.” But isn’t this higher-end image that thing that’s hurting the chain right now?

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