Target will launch a limited-time collection of home goods, pet accessories, apparel and other denim-inspired items with Levi Strauss & Co. as it looks to build on its sales momentum during the coronavirus pandemic.
The new line of more than 100 items will be available in most of the big-box retailer's stores and online starting Feb. 28. They range from glass tumblers for $3 each to a bar cart for $150, but most items are under $25.
For Levi's, the expanded partnership is a way to strengthen ties with a thriving retailer as apparel sales are down and its department store partners have lost ground during the pandemic. Target, on the other hand, has attracted new customers and won more of their business while it's kept doors open as an essential retailer. Its online offerings, such as curbside pickup, have seen significant growth, too.
Target's shares have risen 64% over the past year, bringing its market value to $93.93 billion. The company also reported a strong holiday season, with comparable sales jumping 17.2% and e-commerce sales more than doubling in November and December.
Those gains have teed up a different kind of challenge for the big-box retailer. It faces tough sales comparisons in the year ahead and investors may question if its pace of growth has peaked.
For Target, the limited-time collection is part of its playbook. It has long used exclusive products to drive sales and create buzz. It has collaborated with other beloved fashion brands, including Hunter and Lilly Pulitzer. It has also launched its own brands that have a fan following. Those include Cat & Jack, a kids' apparel brand, and Hearth & Hand, a home goods brand created with Chip and Joanna Gaines' company Magnolia.
Typically, the limited-edition collections draw crowds to stores. This time around, Target is encouraging more shopping to take place on its website. Target CEO Brian Cornell said employees will make sure customers can socially distance at stores, including metering the number inside if needed.
The Levi's collection builds on a growing relationship between the companies. Target has sold value brand, Denizen from Levi's, for about a decade. About three years ago, Cornell approached Levi's CEO Chip Bergh about adding Red Tab, its signature label, to Target. The retailer had discovered the brand — typically found in mall-based stores like Macy's — was Target shoppers' most popular request.
In 2019, Target announced some of its stores and its website would start carrying Red Tab. By fall 2021, Target plans to sell the Red Tab label at 500 of its nearly 1,900 locations. The curated store displays resemble a "shop in shop."
Target has worked with other companies to create destinations within its stores, too. It has Disney shops in 53 stores. Starting in the second half of this year, it will open Ulta Beauty shops inside of hundreds of them with a curated selection of products and employees trained as makeup and skin-care advisors.
The companies began working on the collection before the pandemic, but many items — such as throw blankets, sleepwear, an apron and a denim doggie outfit — match the way that Americans are living now as they cook, lounge around and spend more time at home with four-legged family members.
"It happens to marry with a lot of the trends that have happened during the pandemic, but that's more a coincidence than anything else," Bergh said.
It also has more items designed with sustainability in mind than any of Target's other collaborations, with materials like durable fabrics and recycled glass.
Both CEOs said they have their eyes on a favorite item in the collection — a denim-inspired Sherpa bed that they plan to buy for their dogs.
"I'm going to be on Target.com the moment this thing drops," Bergh said.