Target Canada announces fashion deal with designer Philip Lim

The spring 2011 collection of Phillip Lim is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2010. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Mississauga-based Target Canada announced a collaboration with a New York-based fashion designer Thursday, the latest move in a  strategy to grow revenues by partnering with well- known fashion houses to sell trendy and affordable clothing.

Starting this fall, Target will be selling Philip Lim designs in their expanding fashion department at the company’s 1,800 stores in the United States and Canada.

Lim has boutiques and pop-up stores around the world and sells everything from T-shirts, swimwear, jackets and sweatshirts to purses and shoes.

“The collection consists of beautifully tailored must-haves for both women and men and will offer our guests a compelling reason to update their wardrobes this fall,” said Target Canada’s senior vice president, merchandising, John Morioka.

The move follows the industry trend of “high-low,” where fast-fashion houses like H&M work with high-end designers like Stella McCartney or Jimmy Choo for one-time-only collections.

These special guest-collaborations are not meant to compete with Nordstrom’s, Holt Renfrew or The Bay’s luxury fashion offerings. Rather, they are meant to attract fashion-savvy consumers who would not otherwise spend money on high-end designer items.

Last year Target tried luring luxury shoppers through partnerships with cosmetic retailer Cos Bar and the upscale Neiman Marcus chain, but high prices and unpopular style choices made the projects unsuccessful, leaving inventory languishing on the shelves.

To avoid the pitfalls the chain has experienced with overpricing merchandise, all pieces in The Philip Lim for Target collection will be priced at $49.99 or less.

Fashion is a big part of the discount retailer’s product lineup, making up nearly a fifth of total revenues at its U.S. stores. Some partnerships with hot designers in the past – Italian company Missoni’s line for Target in 2011 for example – produced a buzz with shoppers and led to sellouts at stores and on the company’s website.

Earlier this week, Target Canada announced the opening of 24 new stores in Western Canadian, two months after it starting operating in Ontario, including stores in Mississauga, Brampton and other parts of the GTA.

“It was exciting to see the response to our Ontario store openings which have produced valuable insights that along with our soft openings in Western Canada will help us to continue to deliver on Target’s Expect More. Pay Less. brand promise,”  said president Tony Fisher.

Target Canada is headquartered on Explorer Road in the Airport Corporate Centre, where it employs more than 650 people.  The company plans to aggressively expand across the country and open 124 stores in 2013.


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