Target laces up its cleats in a play for these consumers' dollars

Seattle's Nicolas Lodeiro (URU) (10) kisses the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy. Toronto FC hosted Seattle Sounders FC in MLS Cup 2016 on December 10, 2016, at BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario in Canada.
Andy Mead | YCJ | Icon Sportswire | Getty Images

Add Target's name to the roster.

In a bid to connect with young families, the retailer has signed on as an official partner of Major League Soccer. Meanwhile, the chain will become the official retailer of US Youth Soccer, which boasts more than 3 million young players.

The announcements are the latest in Target's push to attract multicultural shoppers, who account for a growing share of spending in the U.S. Some 42 percent of the millennial generation identifies with more than one culture, and they spend more than $65 billion each year, according to Nielsen.

Millennial moms, who play a critical role in Target's growing kids and toys businesses, number more than 14 million in the U.S., according to Pew Research.

"There are so many things that drew us to soccer. It's multicultural, watched and played by families and is growing immensely in popularity," Rick Gomez, Target's senior vice president of marketing, said in a statement.

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The multi-year deal with Major League Soccer includes air time during games that are broadcast on Univision, Fox Sports and ESPN, as well as player appearances. Target will work more closely with its hometown team, the Minnesota United FC, including placement of its bull's eye logo on players' jerseys.

The campaign will tap also into partnerships with vendors including Dove, Hershey and Tide. The details of those partnerships have yet to be ironed out.

Target's latest initiative comes as the chain is working to snap a period of declining sales. The retailer on Wednesday said its comparable sales fell 1.3 percent in November and December, despite a major marketing push. The company also lowered its earnings expectations for the fourth quarter and full year.

Yet throughout its struggles, revenues from its its so-called signature categories — baby, style, kids and wellness — have been a bright spot. That includes the holiday period, when comparable sales in these categories grew nearly 3 points faster than the company average.

Target's sales of soccer-related products grew by 10 percent last year, more than any other sporting goods category.

The company has meanwhile made reaching a broader range of consumers a focal point, including the promotion of dolls with different skin tones.

Though Target did not provide the total amount of its investment, it did disclose a $75,000 grant to the U.S. Soccer Foundation.

Correction: This story has been corrected to reflect a change in Nielsen's spending estimate, which had been previously misstated.