Target showed this weekend that it still knows how to get the merchandise people want at prices people love. On Sunday Target's collaboration with Lilly Pulitzer, the queen of American resortwear known for her bright, bold patterns, launched at 8am to great fanfare.
At stores, shoppers began lining up at 5am hoping to grab some of the hot items before they became sold out. Online, Target's website promptly crashed due to heavy demand from shoppers who increasingly prefer to buy from the web and via mobile phones rather than shop instore.
Pulitzer designed a 250-piece collection featuring items in 15 exclusive prints at attractive prices compared to other retailers. Her signature sleeveless, collarless shift for adults currently retails from $180 to $300; the Target version is available for $38. Target's Lilly bikinis are priced at $48 for the top and bottom, compared to $136 for the two pieces. Other items included tote bags, pillows and sandals and beach coverups, all retailing for significantly less than the designed versions.
While issues with a down website and a rush of buyers was inconvenient for some customers the launch is a positive validation of the brand's strategy. Target, who's entry and swift yet costly exit from the Canadian market, seems to be back on track with a formula that pleases online and instore customers yet can compete on price without looking cheap. As any marketing professional will tell you this is a fine line to walk and takes great skill.
On the heels of Friday's announcement that Wal Mart is suddenly closing five stores for unknown reasons the news of solid weekend sales and customer love indicate Wal Mart's fate may not be the same as Target's.