Interior of the Target Store

Target & Neiman Marcus: Retail Branding’s Odd Pair

Target and Neiman Marcus retail collaboration

On Tuesday WWD reported that retail giants Target and Neiman Marcus have announced they will partner to create a limited edition of 24 designers for the holiday season. Following Target’s hit last year with the Missoni line, the two retailers, who are at almost opposite ends of the price spectrum, both have much to gain from this unique partnership.

Apart from an interesting retail story, this is a case where an iconic brand in luxury retailing has an opportunity to liven up its brand. While Neiman Marcus is synonymous with expensive merchandise and is famous for its Christmas catalogue where items can range as high as the millions, it also has the moniker “needless markup” and has become somewhat of a fusty brand. Teaming with Target can give this luxury brand a good dose of “hipness” making Neiman more relevant to a younger crowd. Neiman has been trying to shed some of its effeteness and, as WSJ reported, the store reversed a policy in October of only accepting a Neiman credit card, American Express or cash. Clearly the brand has to walk a fine line partnering with Target’s more “cheap-chic” to ensure that it does not erode the luxury and exclusivity that is associated with the Neiman name.

Target, on the other hand, will continue to demonstrate that it has the buying and manufacturing power to combine good design with value pricing. By using its production lines and less expensive fabrics, it can introduce new high fashion designers to its mass-market clientele. This alliance also bolsters the Target brand as a maverick in the retail space, willing to embark on alliances that seem unlikely. Target continues to entice its clientele by finding innovative ways to bring luxury goods to a broader market at a lower price point.

An unlikely partnership, perhaps. But hats off to the two brands for being daring enough and confident in their own brand position to attempt this.

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