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Embattled Victoria's Secret's latest competitor: Target

Key Points
  • Target is launching three new brands this spring for lingerie and sleepwear. 
  • The move could hurt Victoria's Secret, which is struggling to grow sales as women steer away from its bras and underwear in favor of size-inclusive brands. 
  • Target's new brands are called Auden (for intimates), Stars Above (for lounge and sleepwear) and Colsie (for lounge, sleepwear and intimates). 
A look at some of the items from the new bra brand Target is launching this spring.
Source: Target

Victoria's Secret has a new competitor in the lingerie and sleepwear business. It's Target.

This spring, Target plans to launch three new lines of lingerie and sleepwear: Auden (for intimates), Stars Above (for lounge and sleepwear) and Colsie (for lounge, sleepwear and intimates). The rollouts come as L Brands-owned Victoria's Secret, still the nation's largest bra and women's underwear retailer, is increasingly struggling to stay relevant. More and more women are switching to size-inclusive brands and more comfortable options from the likes of American Eagle's Aerie, Third Love, Lively and Adore Me.

Target says roughly 40 percent of its shoppers are looking for intimates and sleepwear in its stores and online. The retailer's customer base has always heavily skewed toward women, giving it an opportunity to give them more variety. In launching the brands, Target will be phasing out Gilligan & O'Malley, its existing line of intimates and pajamas.

All of Target's new bras will cost under $22 and include plus sizes, while its refreshed loungewear and sleepwear will be under $30, the company said.

In stores, Target says it will be adding "Bra Fit Studios," for shoppers to find items grouped by fit and organized by band and cup. Online, it will be adding a "Find Your Fit" tool for shoppers to find the best bra size for them in answering a few questions.

"We want to create the ultimate destination for our guests — one that's inviting and inspiring and allows all women to feel comfortable and confident," said Jill Sando, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of apparel and accessories.

The launch of Auden, Stars Above and Colsie builds on Target's latest push to add more in-house brands. In recent months, it has launched private labels like A New Day for women's clothing, Heyday for electronics accessories and Cloud Island for nursery items. The company says it will have more than 25 owned and exclusive brands by the end of this year.

Selling more in-house brands is one way for Target to manage its gross margins, as other hefty investments in stores and in e-commerce (like rolling out same-day delivery) continue to weigh on profits.

Victoria's Secret has, meanwhile, struggled to grow sales, giving Target the chance to take some of its market share. Victoria's Secret's same-store sales have fallen for the past three years. L Brands' stock is down about 44 percent from a year ago.

Target on Monday also announced some changes to its website. It will now be adding more third-party sellers, but only if they're invited by Target to join. This is another attempt by the retailer to become more profitable online. Target shares are up about 9 percent this year.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on this news on Sunday.

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