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Target, Neiman Marcus join for holiday collection

NEW YORK — They may make an odd couple, but discounter Target and luxury merchant Neiman Marcus are jointly offering a limited collection spanning from fashion to sporting goods for the winter holidays.

More than 50 products from 24 designers, including Oscar de la Renta and Diane von Furstenberg, as well as younger designers such as Derek Lam, will be available at both stores and on their websites starting Dec. 1 until they sell out. Items in the collection will cost from $7.99 to $499.99, but most will sell for less than $60.

"We definitely have our differences," Kathee Tesija, Target's executive vice president of merchandising, said of her company and Neiman Marcus. "They're high end, and we're mass appeal. But we both love design."

Target pioneered the idea of low-price chains teaming with designers to create limited-time, affordable versions. It made headlines last fall with the bungled launch of a lower-price collection from Missoni that was so intensely anticipated that Target's website crashed for almost an entire day, angering customers and leading to order cancellations.

But the partnership with Neiman Marcus is unprecedented. Target sells $25 dresses and generates almost half its revenue from staples like food and detergent, while Neiman Marcus has cultivated a reputation for expensive fashion, selling $1,000 shoes and $3,000 handbags.

Now, both want to grab a new segment of customers who are increasingly shopping around, checking out both higher- and lower-price stores. Target, whose sales growth has been uneven since the recession, is seeking new ways to boost its fashion image.

And Neiman Marcus, whose affluent customers are back to splurging, needs to step outside its comfort zone to stay competitive. So it has to introduce itself to people who never considered shopping at the store where they can discover it also sells more affordable items for under $100, company executives said.

Both companies say they share a passion for design and cite one another's strengths. Target praises Neiman Marcus's long-standing relationships with designers, while Neiman lauds Target's ability to sell massive quantities of products of high quality.

Wanda Gierhart, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at the Neiman Marcus Group, described the partnership as a "modern approach" to cross-shopping.

"Customers love innovation, and they want a surprising shopping experience," she added.

Target, Neiman Marcus join for holiday collection 07/10/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 10, 2012 9:07pm]
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