Lingerie as a category has only two extremes. You either have ultra high end stuff or mere commodity fit for mass merchandise stores. There is nothing in between. Target Corp. has decided to change all that by commissioning upscale designers to inject life into a category that is made sold and bought like a commodity. They are launching a limited exclusive line of lingerie and lounge wear created by upscale designer Josie Natori. The strategy of the retailer is to take luxury specialty shops like Victoria’s Secret and Straps and Strings head on and give them a run for their money through their wider reach and larger customer base.
Target is positioning itself as a lower cost alternative to upscale retailers. They had adopted similar strategy while partnering with Liberty and Missoni. The experiment was very successful in creating a buzz and driving more people to their stores. Trish Adams, senior vice president of apparel and accessories at Target, stressed the fact that their aim is to surprise and delight the customer. The new line of bras, panties, robes and leggings created by Natori has 37 pieces ranging in prices from $9.99 to $34.99.
Natori, a former top Wall Street investment banker has done good work for upscale department stores like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. The apparel business has seen flat sales in the last one year with growth of under one percent. However, high end lingerie is bucking the trend and brands like Victoria Secret has registered double digit growth consistently. Target is confident that the collection created by Natori will enhance its credibility. They hope to cash in on the Christmas and Valentine’s day periods that contribute over half of annual sleepwear sales.