• Retail Dive

Target unveils tween girl private label

Dive Brief:
  • On Wednesday, Target unveiled a brand "just for tween girls" dubbed "More Than Magic" available in stores and online beginning July 13, according to a company blog post.

  • The line includes more than 500 items for girls ages 8-12 "who are starting to experiment with their personal sense of style." The retailer said it's the "first full lifestyle brand," with stationery, tech and beauty items in addition to apparel.

  • Prices range from about a dollar to $29.99 and include "inclusive designs," according to the release.

Dive Insight:

Target's strategy of differentiating merchandise through the development of private labels is not only a way to attract consumer attention but also potentially to protect its prices.

The mass merchant is among discounters vulnerable to pressures from tariffs, with about a third of its goods imported from China, "although the private label penetration, especially at [Target], provides some flexibility to raise product prices," according to comments from Telsey Advisory Group emailed to Retail Dive.

The retailer's design teams have developed a process that involves research and testing. "Bringing girls together from across the country to hear what they did — and did not — want and how Target can fill those needs, from the products we create to the experiences we offer, was really energizing for our team," Jill Sando, Target senior vice president and general merchandise manager of Apparel and Accessories and Home, said in a statement.

That led to apparel with soft textures and velvety finishes on apparel, paraben-free bath and beauty items, built-in volume limits on earbuds and "modest silhouettes on active and sleepwear," according to the company's post. Target is also applying a discovery-inducing in-store layout with items from various categories styled together, with venues like slumber parties, dance or gym class, and school in mind.

It's the kind of merchandising that recalls old-school department store discovery, in the best way, according to Sanford Stein, retail analyst and consultant, and author of "Retail Schmetail."

"Any company that's in retail or has a brand has to have a store-based space that is as engaging and as fulfilling as the rest of all their brand touchpoints," he told Retail Dive in a recent interview. "You walk into the new Target store and it's as good as these department stores might want to be. They're doing all the right things — they've curated the private label brands, they've created spaces that are open and well lit."

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