By any statistical measure, Target Corp., Minneapolis, the nation's No. 2 discount retailer, is a distant second to Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., which is not just America's but the world's largest retailer. For years, Avis, the also-ran of the rental-car industry, used to declare in its ads, "We try harder." Target's take on this tag line could be, "We try differently." In apparel and housewares, the company has been aligning itself with cutting-edge designers, including Michael ...

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