Close-up of sign for Target retail store, San Ramon, California, September 18, 2020. (Photo by Smith … [+]
When Target TGT +4.4% announced positive fourth-quarter 2020 results on March 1st, it became a bright spot despite a challenging year. Target declared an EPS beat of $0.13 and a revenue beat of $921.46 million. On the conference call, Chairman and Chief Executive Brian Cornell said, “The story of Target in 2020 is the story of a team that wanted nothing more than to take care of those around us, drawing on capabilities that were equal to that ambition after years of building and investment.”
Ambition, innovation, and relevance have often served as the a driving force for shoppers at Target, and the collaborations and collections are part of the proof in that pudding. Late last month, Target unleashed its newest limited-edition collaboration with none other than denim icon Levi Strauss. This cemented the notion that our collective love of Target and Levi’s just might be the perfect marriage in this collection. In its announcement, Target noted that the two have enjoyed a decade-long successful partnership. The new limited-edition collection features products with more sustainable certifications and claims than other limited-edition runs. Up for grabs are over 100 items ranging in prices from $3 to $150 including clothing, accessories, pet items, and home goods. Consumer response to the launch has been positive, and I thought it might be fun to look back at some of the other partnerships at the “bullseye bazaar.” Most generated plenty of buzz (and revenue) but here are five of my favorites:
Isaac Mizrahi during Isaac Mizrahi Hosts The Launch of The New Isaac Mizrahi for Target Boutique at … [+]
In the late 1990s, Mizrahi was approached to collaborate and balked, according to the New York Times NYT +2.7%, but by 2002, Isaac Mizrahi for Target hit the racks. Mizrahi’s name graced pet products, home goods, accessories, and of course, clothing. As Mizrahi became a household name, sales volume tripled to $300 million over five years. When Mizrahi departed for Liz Claiborne in 2008, the collaboration trend was in great hands and showed no slowing signs.
PASADENA, CA – MARCH 25: Anna Kendrick arrives for the Hunter for Target Ultimate Family Festival … [+]
The year was 2018. The love of Hunter’s tall duck boots was shared by soccer moms and concert-goers alike, transcending generation gaps like a miracle. Target announced a limited-edition collection of 300 items that would sport the Hunter logo, including “Wellies,” backpacks, bags, and accessories. The Hunter collaboration also sported windbreakers and jackets, among other things. Target came under scrutiny, and Twitter reacted after shoppers hoping to get their hands on the merch logged in to buy online, only to find their desired items were sold out within minutes, unavailable to order online, or that Target was unable to ship them. Target formally announced a delay of its tall rain boot collection, and some accused the store of pulling a marketing ploy with the whole event.
PASADENA, CA – FEBRUARY 05: Laura Mulleavy and Kate Mulleavy attend JNSQ Rose Cru debuts alongside … [+]
In 2009, designer sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy partnered with Target and released a 55-piece limited-edition collection that included slip dresses, cardigans, and denim jackets. In Rodarte fashion, the items featured lace prints, mustard-colored fabric, and animal prints. The collection hit a consumer budgetary sweet spot, pricing items from $9 for a pair of tights to $79.99 for a dress. The high fashion heavy hitters, including Vogue and Elle, gave their nods and snaps to the collection, and actress Dakota Fanning sported one of the dresses in a highly-publicized snapshot. The successful collection gained wide praise and reportedly sold out quickly.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – OCTOBER 08: Missoni Creative Director, Angela Missoni poses as she launches … [+]
Unmistakable in design and beloved by those in the know, the 2011 Missoni limited-edition collection is one of Target’s most memorable. Together, they launched a 400-piece collection that showcased the Italian designer’s contrasting textures and colors, swirly patterns, and bright zigzag prints on a bounty of goods. A patio set went for $600. There were housewares, including pillows. Target opted to let online shoppers have first dibs on the goods the night before stores opened for the launch in an unprecedented move. Buyers descended upon the e-commerce opportunity so frenetically that the collection sold out early, and the website crashed.
NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 16: A general view of atmosphere at the Lilly Pulitzer For Target Pop-up Shop … [+]
This 2015 launch served as the “one that got away” for some. Target and Lilly Pulitzer, known for bright, beach-inspired resort wear, announced a 250 item collaboration with items that included cosmetics, accessories, barware, and outdoor leisure life accessories, including hammocks and umbrellas. Target did not restrict the quantity of items shoppers could purchase, and many fans of the designer lined up to get their dibs on the collection, only to find “slim pickins” once inside. The collection sold out nearly entirely within minutes, and frustrated shoppers once again turned to Twitter to vent their frustrations. Some resellers looked to capitalize on the demand and turned to eBay EBAY +1.4% with sometimes dizzying markups on the items in a slap to the disgruntled hopefuls.
I’m a Dow Jones alum who’s written about everything from an entrepreneurial venture by Alicia Keys for The Wall Street Journal, to insider trade recaps and big time money