SAN RAFAEL -- A community impact study released today on a planned 137,000-square-foot Target found that in the next four years the store would generate 164 net new jobs, a 3.6 percent net increase in retail sales and a net boost of $646,000 a year in city revenue, yet sales for competing grocery and drug store would slip 2.9 percent.

The City Council earlier this year commissioned the report by Los Angeles-based AECOM on impacts to San Rafael businesses and employment. A public hearing on the report and council discussion of the report and amendments to the project final environmental impact report are set for April 21.

The new study (link) projected that a Target store at Shoreline Center would capture retail sales, mostly for general merchandise, "not currently well-represented in San Rafael." The city and southern Marin County have a significant under supply, or "retail leakage," of general merchandise stores, and the proposed Target "would absorb a large share of this projected leakage currently flowing to to other retail centers outside southern Marin County," according to AECOM.

The firm interviewed city and chamber of commerce officials in cities with established Target stores: Davis, Livermore, Napa, Novato, San Mateo and Walnut Creek. No store closures were attributed to Target, downtown retailers adapted to the increased competition despite decreases in sales for existing grocers in some cities and the Target stores were major sales tax generators, according to the study.

The new store would generate about $54 million in sales annually, with $44.5 million of that being new sales, a 3.6 percent increase over total retail sales in the city in 2009.

Food and beverage stores as well as health and personal care retailers could be affected by the new Target store, because the range of products are similar, there's no retail leakage for those categories and customers tend to be from surrounding neighborhoods, the study said.

The community impact study analyzed the Target store based on 200 new jobs.  The net increase of 164 jobs in the city, or about a 3 percent increase in local retail employment, came from an estimate that 36 jobs could be lost from grocery and drug stores.

The net benefit to city coffers from sales taxes would be about $646,000 a year, factoring in a formulaic estimate that $55,000 a year in city services would be used because of the new business.