(Forbes) You don’t need to be a fashion slave to understand that the newly announced partnership between Neiman Marcus and Target is going to produce a collection that will send holiday shoppers thronging to both stores. The upscale department store and the discount chain will both be flogging a limited edition gift collection with items from 24 designers cherry picked from among the Council of American Fashion Designers.
Just don’t expect it by Black Friday. The collection will hit all Target and Neiman store stores on December 1 as well as be available on NeimanMarcus.com and Target.com. Stores will house the entire 50-item collection within a dedicated space and no outlet will be offering special pricing. Expect to pay between $7.99 to $499.99 with most prices hovering at or below $60.
Though Target is no stranger to the high-low model of collaborating with designers most of their customers couldn’t afford at full retail, this is Neiman’s first attempt. The Wall Street Journal reports that Neiman’s CMO said Target’s expertise with manufacturing such collections and its focus on design made the partnership a natural conclusion to years of talks.
It’s also 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. At that time it launched a discount concept outlet that appeared to be sandwiched between its deep mark downa at Last Call and its full priced assortments.
Neiman pivoted from that experiment and beefed up Last Call’s e-commerce site as well as rebranded its contemporary apparel department CUSP, with a focus on discounts. Even its signature holiday gift catalogfeatured a number of items under $100 last year, albeit juxtaposed with a $75,000 yurt and a $1 million fountain of dancing waters.
The partnership with Target should hook the remaining hold outs into at least take a peek at the offerings which will span women’s, men’s and children’s apparel in addition to housewares. Materials such as hand beading, leather and blown glass certainly up the chic factor for “Tar-zhay” which has already featured some of the designers in earlier collaborations.
The question then becomes, will both Target and Neiman have the bandwidth to handle the frenzy that’s sure to ensue as eager shoppers vie to grab a de la Renta or Diane von Furstenberg design at discount? Target’s Missoni collection triggered days of madness last September which crashed its e-commerce site. Months later, Target was offering goods for free to assuage customers whose orders were abruptly cancelled.
It was perhaps an object lesson in how to do it right this time. Here’s hoping Neiman Marcus IT execs were taking notes.