Target officials would not discuss specifics of the launch, but a test site has been running for about two weeks.
The chain, a division of Dayton Hudson Corp., joins a host of offline retailers who have begun preparations for what is expected to be a banner holiday season online. Other mainstream chains making the move online include Nordstrom, which announced a new e-commerce division last month, and Wal-Mart, which has been working on a revamped Web site for some time.
As more mainstream shoppers, and more female shoppers, go online, offline retailers will follow them, analysts said.
Target will be promoting its Web address in the stores, on receipts and through circulars.
Consumers who purchase items online will also be able to return them to any of the 850 stores in the chain, a company spokeswoman said. Target will use company-owned resources for fulfillment, she said.