The large female readership and general demand for swimsuits shows the size of the prize at stake, said Michelle Mesenberg, Target's vice president of Marketing. The company is hoping for some positive buzz surrounding the issue.
The bikinis featured in Sports Illustrated will be available by the end of the week at Target. The inventory is being planned as usual, but because the swim season for Target is a long one, the retailer can increase orders if demand spikes, Mesenberg said.
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But the retailer isn't sitting back and waiting for consumers to make the connection. There is signage in stores proclaiming "as seen in Sports Illustrated" and the swimsuits featured in the minizine and magazine are tagged with a Sports Illustrated teardrop-shaped tag.
So go ahead ladies, grab your bikini and feel like cover model.
-By CNBC's Courtney Reagan; Follow her on Twitter @CourtReagan
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