MINNEAPOLIS - Will consumers, many of whom have been staying in and wearing sweatpants during the pandemic, be in the mood for a special collection of dresses?
Target will soon find out.
The Minneapolis-based retailer, which has built its cheap-chic reputation from its highly anticipated designer partnerships, will launch a new one in a few weeks. Its next collection is all about dresses with three female-founded brands - LoveShackFancy, Cushnie and Lisa Marie Fernandez - offering a variety of colors, prints and silhouettes to appeal to a diverse range of tastes.
Planning for it started a year ago, long before the pandemic was on the horizon. Given the current circumstances, Target has made a number of adjustments to the rollout.
"We fully acknowledge that not everybody is going to be in the same place," said Jill Sando, Target's co-chief merchandising officer. "But we want to be able to provide some joy to those guests that are looking for it during this time, and to do it in a way that's empathetic and safe."
For starters, Target delayed the launch by two months. Also, to discourage the frenzy in stores that can accompany the first-day launches of its limited-time collaborations, it is putting the collection for sale online a full week before it hits stores.
And, during a time of physical distancing, Target has pulled images from its marketing that show models touching or in close proximity to one another.
Originally set to be announced in March and launched in April, executives decided to postpone the collection as the coronavirus began to sweep across the country. At that time, Target's stores were moving into crisis mode with stepped-up cleaning procedures and social-distancing measures with consumers flocking to stores for eggs, toilet paper and puzzles as they hunkered down at home.
Executives considered many options, including scrapping the dress collection altogether, even though it was too late to cancel orders.
"Everything was on the table," Sando said.