Move Over Sandy—Diane, Tory, & Oscar Are in Town

Target's Cure for the Mid-Holiday Lull
Source: Target

The highly anticipated launch of the Target-Neiman Marcus designer collaboration came and went on Saturday. And while we will have to wait for December sales results to know for sure, it appears this was no Jason Wu or Missoni launch.

The good news is we will still get some instant gratification in December on how this all turned out before Target stops reporting its sales on a monthly basis.

But back to the hype around this launch. Remember the September 2011 fashion feeding frenzy when Target's website fell to its Missoni knees? Likewise, the Jason Wu launch last February that sold out within hours?

While lessons were learned and inventory was planned much higher for the current designer launch, Target was in stock on every item as of Saturday afternoon.

In contrast, the Neiman Marcus website showed out of stock on 29 of 50 items on Saturday afternoon, but it was able to bulk up to only 6 of 50 missing items as of Sunday afternoon.

While Target most likely just did a better job of managing online inventory, the bottom line is you can still get your DVF $49.99 yoga mat, Judith Leiber $59.99 compact, or those $49.99 leather Brian Atwood gloves. I will admit it, I did.

(In case you are really feeling flush this year, the Alice & Olivia $499 bicycle might be calling your name. Well, not my name.)

Consumers are downright exhausted after shopping the Black Friday discounts (and pre-Black Friday discounts and the Cyber Monday discounts).

And many have simply spent their budget or are procrastinating until the last minute before Christmas. Why not? Retailers have taught us that like humans, they too panic. As a result, last-minute discounts should not disappoint this year.

While most retailers will be able to hear echoes in their stores during the first two weeks of December, Target is finding a way to entice the consumer to pay full price with exclusive designer launches at affordable prices. The Neiman collaboration simply sets the retailer apart from the pack during the quiet period in December.

While the initial frenzy might not be channeling the Missoni or Wu launches, which helped monthly sales by estimated 75 to 100 basis points, it should help put the retailer back on track after a disappointing November same-store sales result, where super storm Sandy was one culprit.

Move over Sandy… Diane, Tory, Oscar, Marc and Judith are in town.

And here is a shopping tip: If you are spending more than $50 online,Target will throw in free shipping. Neiman Marcus will not.

Stacey Widlitz is the President of SW Retail Advisors Inc. She has worked at UBS, SG Cowen, Fulcrum Partners and in 2005 was one of three analysts to launch the Research Department at Pali Capital, where she covered Retail and Home Video for 5 years.