Target Corp. is making a big push into the high-margin market for lingerie and sleepwear, launching three house brands that expressly avoid in its marketing the airbrushed, emaciated and busty models that have long defined the segment.
In creating its new line of bras, panties, sleepwear and loungewear, the retailer said Monday it wants to “speak to all women in the market and not just a particular size range or a particular aesthetic range.”
Target’s three new brands — Auden, Colsie and Stars Above — will replace its Gilligan & O’Malley line, which didn’t offer as many choices for plus-sized women.
The lingerie market in the U.S. is a small-but-lucrative slice of women’s retail. It accounts for 4 percent of overall sales but is worth $12 billion, according to Edited, an industry retail research firm.
Target’s play to create splashy in-store displays takes direct aim at market stalwart Victoria’s Secret, whose fortunes have been sagging in part because consumer tastes have moved away from the push-up bras that made it famous.
All of Target’s bras will be priced under $22.
Sales of lingerie have been growing for the past four years.
American Eagle’s Aerie, which sells lingerie aimed at teens and millennials, is on a path to become a $1 billion brand in the next few years, with a more on-trend assortment of items as well as a strong social media strategy appealing to regular women. And online-only retailers such as Third Love and Amazon.com’s private label, Mae, have focused on comfort, ease of shopping and strong online communities.
Target’s full assortment of the three brands will be available in stores and online starting Sunday.
The Auden lingerie brand is aimed at women 16 to 54 with bra sizes ranging from 32AA to 46G, with a focus on comfort. The line will have 200 bras in more than 40 styles.
The Colsie line, marketed as “trendy, stylish loungewear,” is aimed at young teens and adults. Stars Above sleepwear is going for those who want “comfortable and cozy,” according to the retailer.
The movement to show women of various body types, races and cultures has been growing since Dove launched its “Real Beauty” campaign in 2004.
Younger customers are pushing the body-positive movement, said the researchers at Edited, because they “demand greater inclusivity and diversity and a reassessment of the traditionally sexualized imagery of the industry.”
Target is calling its marketing campaign, “No Body Like You,” and said it will only feature “unretouched” images of women.
In preparing for the launch, Target played host to fit tests and talked with hundreds of women “of all ages, shapes and sizes,” a spokeswoman said.
The brands used Target’s in-house team of technicians, engineers, trim and fabric specialists, who created the prints and patterns on the lingerie.