Target is continuing its season of aggressive markdowns, from all clothing marked 40% off during a Black Friday promotion, a 20% off Target gift card promo and most recently, a BOGO on its online partnership with Faribault Woolen Mill (buy one at full-price, get one 50% off).
I noticed on Sunday that the entire collection of 10 pieces in 30 variations is discounted (originally priced from $13 to $80). In the past, Target would mark down its limited-edition pieces to its usual markdown cycle--25 or 30% off, then 50%, 70% etc. as it did with designers such as Parul Garung.
I interpreted this to mean that the line might not be selling well, but a Faribault spokesman said otherwise. "Several items have sold out," said Bildsten, "Sales have not been slow. Everything's been consistent with Target's original aggressive sales projections."
I was unable to confirm with Bildsten or Target which items may have sold out. After checking a handful of items, all seemed to be in stock. Bildsten said that Target intended the collection to be a limited edition with no subsequent orders for popular items.
I will update the post as I hear from Target about whether the discounts are permanent and if any items are sold out.
Here’s a surprising factoid: Target doesn’t have e-commerce up and running yet in Canada.
Sure, the Minneapolis-based retailer has a website up north. But you can’t buy anything from it – or, for that matter, find detailed information about all the products it sells in stores.
I asked the folks at Target about it when I was reporting a story last week about the retailer’s troubles to right size its Canadian operations. Eric Hausman, a company spokesman, said a small team is looking at what it would take to have a digital strategy in Canada.
“We know e-commerce needs to be part of our long-term strategy, but right now we need to focus on the basics,” he said.
The retail analysts I spoke with mostly agreed, saying Target Canada needs to work on getting products to its shelves and drawing more traffic to its stores before it should divert its focus to figure out online shopping.
“The worst possible thing you can do is have a website when you have supply chain and inventory issues,” said David Soberman, a marketing professor at the University of Toronto.
But still, some say, the lack of online shopping capabilities shows how unprepared Target was to expand into Canada.
To provide a little context, Canada is apparently a little bit behind the U.S. when it comes to buying stuff behind. But it's starting to catch up.
Canadian retailers have been a little complacent about pursuing online sales because of perceptions that the population is so spread out and that it would be expensive to ship items to them, said Doug Stephens, a Toronto-based retail consultant. But, he added, it is pretty feasible since about 80 percent of the Canadian population lives within 2 hours of the U.S. border.
Now Canadian companies are beginning to wake up to the online opportunity, especially as Amazon has been making a big push into Canada, he said. Wal-Mart also has an active website across the border.
“It’s astonishing” that Target doesn’t have e-commerce in Canada, Stephens said. “It’s such an opportunity for them.”
In the U.S., online sales make up about 2 to 3 percent of Target’s overall sales.
Consumer Reports recently looked at the up side and down sides of Target's Up & Up and other store brands, giving thumbs up or thumbs down. (OK--enough with the UPpity language.) Why consider store brands? The 30 percent savings over name brands, according to Consumer Reports. You can save even more at Target using a Redcard, the occasional Up & Up coupon in the Sunday flier, and Cartwheel mobile coupons.
Coffeemaker: Black & Decker coffeemaker model CM4000S--a 12 cup drip coffeemaker that is exclusive to Target ($40) combines solid brew performance and intuitive operation, the magazine reported. A Black & Decker Single Serve CM620B model ($35) was judged the best of the single serve bunch.
Condiments: Market Pantry ketchup was judged as good as Heinz, Market Pantry mayonnaise as good as Hellman's, and Archer Farms 100% pure maple syrup was judged as having a thick, full, bold flavor.
Frozen veggies: Market Pantry frozen mixed veggies were as crisp and fresh-tasting as Birds Eye.
Paper products: Up & Up full-sheet puddle buster paper towels were good for absorbency but not scrubbing. The Up & Up Aloe and Vitamin E Lotion facial tissues were "exceptionally soft," according to CR. Alternates: Good Housekeeping likes Costco's Kirkland Signature paper towels but my beef is that they don't come in choose-a-size yet. GH also likes Walgreen's Nice! facial tissues with lotion at 2 cents per tissue.
Snacks: Market Pantry Peanut Sweet & Salty Granola Bars, Archer Farms Jumbo cashews, Archer Farms Trail Mix and Market Pantry vanilla ice-cream were all highly rated.
Pain relievers: Up & Up Ibuprofen (generic Advil), Up & Up Naproxen (generic Aleve), and generic Allegra were all significantly cheaper than store versions at Walgreens and Rite Aid. CR did not compare prices with Wal-Mart (Equate brand), which is usually slightly cheaper than Target.
Detergents: Good Housekeeping and Consumer Reports have long raved about Wal-Mart's Great Value dishwashing powder (10 cents per load), but GH also liked Target's Up & Up 2X HE Fresh Breeze liquid laundry detergent (11 cents per large load).
Target's Chefmate cookware ($55 for 16 pieces), Market Pantry Classic Roast coffee, Market Pantry Caesar salad dressing, Up & Up dish packs dishwasher detergent and its Cube Merlot wine (now sold in Otsego, Minn.) were judged not worth buying.
Target isn't "nickel and diming" its customers lately. You may have noticed that almost each week in its Sunday newspaper flier it offers a coupon for $5 to $20 off a specified category. This week it's $5 off a meat purchase of $20 or more (fresh, frozen or deli) and $5 off S-sport shoes. Last week it was $15 off a $50 purchase in the pet dept. (food, litter and treats) and $10 off a home furnishings purchase of $50 or more. Three weeks ago it was $20 off a $100 purchase in the baby department.
Pick up an extra copy of the circular w/ the coupon at the service desk or get a text on your smartphone while you're in the store (check signs in the highlighted department for the number).
Target hasn't cut back on promotional gift cards with purchase either. Recent amounts have varied from $5 to $100 with the purchase of Apple products, pet products, Advil, Charmin, Clorox and Burt's Bees.
But the promo that really surprised me is today's $10 off a store policy, not a product. Through Saturday, Aug. 2, you can get $10 off an online order of $40 or more when you choose store pickup. That's a discount that's been promoted before but never discounted, said Target spokesman Eddie Baeb. He said the store pickup consistently makes up more than 10 percent of Target's online sales, but the company offered the promotion "to drive more engagement and use," since it debuted nationally in November 2013.
Kathee Tesija, Target’s executive vice president of merchandising, said late last year that the retailer would be offering "some eye-popping, irresistible deals" during the holidays and beyond. Eight months and many circulars later, I'm inclined to agree that the deals do seem better. The downside? Consumers have to spend more to get the savings, which hurts lower-income shoppers.
But I'd rather get a $5 savings in one fell swoop than have to collect ten 50 cent coupons.
In today's article about Target's latest collaboration with manufacturers, I mention that Target will release more than 120 different products from 17 existing brands in its Made to Matter--Handpicked by Target collection of natural, organic and sustainable products. All are new and exclusive to Target for at least six months. Here are the months the new products will be released.
Evol Foods: Four products, including breakfast burritos and breakfast sandwiches.
Plum Organics: Five products including Super Smoothie and a nutrition platform of organic snacks for kids to be released in spring and summer.
Seventh Generation: Four products including a natural hand wash and dish wash called Purifying Line and the first-ever disposable diaper made from unbleached cotton.
Zarbee's Naturals: Zarbee's Seasonal Relief will be added to the line of cough/sore throat remedies free of alcohol, drugs, glutens and dyes.
Annie's Homegrown: Four new products.
Simply Balanced: New organic products such as applesauce squeezers, trail mix and fruit and vegetable strips. (Simply Balanced is a Target brand.)
Chobani: One new product.
Horizon Organic: Kid-approved organic cheese shapes in cheddar and colby jack flavors.
SheaMoisture: A new line of skin and hair care products made with shea butter.
Yes To: A product line made from fruits and veggies from the natural beauty products company.
Burt's Bees: Three new shades of lip gloss, tinted lip balm and lip shine.
Hyland's Inc.: Hyland's 4 kids Complete Cold â€˜n Cough.
Kashi Foods: One new product.
Method: A first-of-its-kind, non-aerosol air enhancer spray.
Vita Coco: An all-natural, multi-flavor beverage line from the coconut water brand.
Clif Bar & Company: Two bars, one Clif and one Luna.
Ella's Kitchen: Two products, including electrolyte beverages and nutritional shakes, both for kids.
Do you get the feeling that Target is bleeding under water and sharks are feeding on the corporation? The data breach has many reporting Target's missteps and it appears to resemble a feeding frenzy for sharks.
How else can a person interpret the latest antics of the Miami DJ who hoarded nearly $5,700 of merchandise from the Jason Wu collection in Feb. 2012?
According to the Riptide blog, Kevin Wills and his then wife were first in line at a midtown Miami Target store to get pieces of the Wu collaboration. Wills and his wife snatched up cart-fulls of Wu booty, causing recrimination from other shoppers who left Wu-less. (This was before Target instituted a buyer limit on designer collections.) Allegedly, some outraged shoppers physically attacked him while he and his then wife tried to leave the store with their hoard.
One customer allegedly shoved her cart into Wills' legs as her husband said that he was going to "kick Wills' ___."
Maybe it took WIlls two years to discover his legs aren't healing or maybe he figured that everyone is suing Target these days so why not try to cash in with everyone else?
Either way, Wills decided that Target didn't do enough that day to protect him from the angry mob. His proof is that Target dropped its no-limit purchase policy immediately after the incident. He also claims that Target made "hundreds of thousands if not millions in advertising" when the media outlets from the Hollywood Reporter to the Huffington Post ridiculed his behavior.