Retail

Target's new brand caters to shoppers looking for 'clean' products

Key Points
  • Target is launching a household brand called Everspring for items like laundry detergent, dish soap and paper towels.
  • It's Target's biggest push to offer sustainable products under one of its private labels.
Target launches a new household essentials brand, for items like hand soap and laundry detergent, called Everspring.
Source: Target

Target hopes to cater to online and in-store shoppers looking for "clean and natural" products they can feel good about buying, putting on their bodies and spraying into the air.

The retailer on Monday launched a new household brand, Everspring, for items like laundry detergent, dish soap, candles and paper towels.

The launch is part of Target's ongoing investment to roll out more in-house brands, including recent lines for apparel, furniture and home decor. The company is on track to have over two-dozen of its own new private labels in stores by the end of the year. These brands offer the retailer higher profit margins since it can set its own prices and bypass any middlemen.

Everspring also marks Target's biggest push to offer a sustainable brand within its own lines.

"It has taken over a year," to bring Everspring to life, said Christina Hennington, senior vice president and general merchandise manager for Target's Essentials category. "From the sourcing to the packaging, ... we had to do it right. ... We hired the right expertise to make sure the chemical quality was up to expectations."

The Everspring line is unique for Target in that all of the items — such as cleaning wipes, dish soap and all-purpose cleaner — are either biobased, meaning they're derived from plants and other renewable agricultural, marine and forestry materials or are made from recycled materials and natural fibers, according to the company. They use 100% natural fragrances to make scent combinations like mandarin and ginger, and lavender and bergamot. And they're not tested on animals.

"The consumers who seek this transparency of chemicals ... becoming educated on what is right for them and their family ... it's a younger consumer," Hennington said. "But you can't say that across the board. There is someone of every age who cares about what goes on their bodies and in their bodies."

Today, 70% of shoppers consider the environmental impact of the things they're buying, when they're out shopping, according to a study by A.T. Kearney released on Monday on Earth Day. But only about 52% of those shoppers have actually changed their purchase decisions to buy into more sustainable brands, citing typically higher costs of those items as an impediment, the study found.

Target said its sales of "naturals" — including "clean" brands like Mrs. Meyers, Seventh Generation and Method — have grown by double-digits year-over-year since 2016. Seeing this heightened demand on its website and in stores, Target wanted to take a bigger stake in the space.

Everspring-branded items range in price from $2.79 to $11.99, which is about 20 percent less than other comparable products in the marketplace today, Target said. They'll be marketed with a new "Target Clean" icon that was launched by the retailer earlier this year, indicating a product is made without a group of commonly unwanted chemicals such as sodium laureth sulfate or propylparaben. Target is starting to put the logo on certain household essentials, beauty products, personal care items and baby goods.

"We are listening to our guests ... and doing our homework to know what their expectations are," Hennington said.

Plus, if Target can win shoppers over in the household essentials aisle — with brands like Everspring — those people will likely end up adding other items to their shopping baskets. "This category plays a role in triggering the trip," Hennington said. "Guests often choose Target for the things they buy frequently. ... Then they shop the rest of the store."

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