Kai Ryssdal: There’s been a fairly consistent truth about retail ever since the economy started coming back, slow as that’s been. The high-end land of Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s has been doing a lot better than the low-end.
Today, Target showed off its strategy to mine the middle ground. Missoni, the super-luxury Italian fashion house known — I’m told — for its zig-zag prints, unveiled a new line just for Target. Crazy popular. Shoppers loaded up on laptop covers, clothes, even furniture. Crashed the whole Target website, in fact.
Marketplace’s Jennifer Collins has more.
Jennifer Collins: Lelah Foster and Brandi Emma are young artsy types who live in L.A., and care about fashion. They were in line at Target this morning before 8 a.m.
Lelah Foster: When they opened the doors, people ran, grabbed anything they could grab to shove in their basket, and then the early birds proceeded to group together and do trades.
Missoni designs usually sell for hundreds of dollars. Target was selling Missoni ballet flats for $30. Foster and Emma spent about $250 each on everything from throw blankets to a scarves to a…
Brandi Emma: Missoni thong.
Barbara Kahn teaches marketing at the Wharton School. She says Missoni…
Barbara Kahn: Gives new life to that Targ-et image that they used to have. And perhaps it attracts some new people who are now paying attention to Target.
Target advertised its Missoni partnership in magazines like Vogue and Elle. Retail consultant Arnold Aronson says even low-end retailers like Target must try to attract customers with high-end tastes.
Arnold Aronson: You’ve got to run faster just to stay even, let alone to get ahead.
Aronson says this move is about working both ends of the market.
Aronson: There will be an uptick in their normal business just from other merchandise in other parts of the stores.
Back at the store, Lelah Foster was wondering…
Foster: If we should buy stock in Target.
Collins: Why do you say that?
Foster: Everything was sold out in like 15 minutes.
Emma: It’s good to be Target right now.
Foster: It’s very good to be Target right now.
But no discount on Target shares today. The stock was up.
I’m Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.