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Target Neiman Marcus Collaboration Is A Head Scratcher

07/11/2012

The Shops We Love To Markdown

Target and Neiman Marcus are teaming up to hawk a limited edition gift collection created by 24 designers selected from the Council of American Fashion Designers.

We’ve seen this before from Target over the years beginning with Michael Graves back in the 80’s. None of Target’s designer collaborations have been as impactful as the one with Italian design house Missoni. Missoni Madness was so big it brought down Target.com. Turns out the website had other major problems and crashed again during the holiday season leading to the departure of the company’s eCommerce group.

Other collaborations have been less successful. The “Shops We Love” idea earlier this summer was hailed with great fanfare but appeared to have petered out quickly and quietly. Just last week I stumbled upon an end cap filled with personal care products from Cos Bar (photo above) a toney, but apparently too pricey, cosmetics boutique featuring luxury skin care products for both men and women.

What is interesting about these Target collaborations is two-fold. First, each newly announced partnership receives media attention – which is both smart and good for Target. Second, and more ominously, the fanfare of partnerships provide cover for the relative weakness of Target’s softgoods business.

Without these partnerships Target is just another brand selling $19.99 cargo shorts for men and $12.99 sleeveless knits for women. And then marking them down.

But the collaboration with Neiman Marcus is a head scratcher. Why would Neiman’s jump into this? Apparently it’s part of CEO Karen Katz’s continuing strategy to lure a younger, less affluent fashionista both in stores and online. Katz came to the helm during 2010 when the department store was struggling to find its sweet spot with budget conscious shoppers. Is getting in bed with Target the only way to go? I don’t believe so. Creating a unique personality online like that of Gilt would offer Neiman’s more control and have the ability to last longer.

I guess the allure of hanging around with Bullseye the dog had too much appeal for Neiman Marcus CEO Katz. So now we will be subjected to the Katz and Dog of retail.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 07/13/2012 5:49 am

    The Neiman Marcus Group retails high end and luxury apparel, shoes, accessories, jewelry, cosmetics, furnishings, antiques, rare books, and decorative home items. Its target market is consumers who are in the top 2% of the income bracket in the U.S. and equally wealthy people around the world. According to the company’s website, its average customer has an advanced degree, is well-traveled and sophisticated.

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  1. Target Neiman Marcus Major Flopus « ThoughtTech On The Horizon

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