Target’s Newest Designer Pair-up Whiffs On Consumer Interest

As it turns out, bringing consumers in in droves is not as easy as merely teaming up with a recognizable high-line brand and offering one’s middle class customers a chance to own a piece of 1 percenter luxury. It often works, a la H&M’s pair up with Balmain or Target’s team up with Lilly Pulitzer, which both saw customers lining up around the block.

But sometimes it misses, as Target has just learned in its recent pair-up with Finnish designer Marimekko.

The joint release by the high-line brand and the middle-market chain wasn’t a total miss, but it didn’t exactly recall the near frenzy the Pulitzer line coughed up last year, or the Missoni/Target line from a few years before.

However, while Target’s Pulitzer collection lasted for only hours on the shelves, Marimekko is not causing the same kind of panic, despite the fact that the Target version offers a big savings on what the designer normally charges.

Most of the items in the 200-item collection remains — with only about 50 sold out. Prices range from $7.99 to $499.

“We don’t intend for these to sell out in a day,” a Target spokesman told Fortune, noting that they were not actually hoping for a repeat of the Pulitzer experience.

“We’re pleased with how the collection came to life in the very early hours,” the Target spokesman said. “What’s most noticeable about this collection is how seamless the roll out was online.”

Moreover, it is more a boon for Target if the collection sells a little slower – as theoretically that means a longer time the chain can use the goods as a draw. The one-off collaborations with houses of high style tend to burnish Target’s reputations for being the fashion forward big-box store, but the shelf life on the pair-ups tends to be short by design.


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