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The Street
The Street
Sarah Jean Callahan

Target Copies a Key Kohl's Move

Target (TGT) has been dominating its retail rival Kohl’s (KSS) for years. After Kohl’s moved past the collapse of its potential buyout in summer 2022, Target thought Kohl’s had a good idea, and decided to copy it.

Kohl’s was in talks with Franchise Group (FRG) when Kohl’s decided to pull out of the deal citing a volatile market. Kohl’s wasted no time in launching its plan to ‘come back.’

Kohl’s launched its new campaign Discover @ Kohl’s only a couple weeks after ending the discussion with Franchise Group. Discover @ Kohl’s was the developed a new section of its store that included fashions By Women For Women, a Family Fall lineup, and supporting a charity with its new concept by featuring products that give back. 

Discover @ Kohl’s fashions would feature partnerships that expand the diversity of the clothing and accessories to reach new target audiences. Partnerships like that with Billie Footwear, “offers mainstream footwear that are functional, fashionable and inclusive for everyone.”

The rotation of seasons and clothing lineups brings a new audience to the clothing and accessory partners that might not have shopped at Kohl’s before. The inclusivity and diversity of the brands coming into Discover @ Kohl’s provide apparel options for those who might not have had an opportunity to express themselves otherwise.

Image source: John Smith/VIEWpress.

Kohl’s Makes a Move Worth While

Target has a long history of working with different designers. However, after Discover@ Kohl's launched to create a diverse and inclusive section of its store, Target was not far behind in committing to expand its collections’ diversity and inclusion. The retail giant, however, has a slightly different approach to the diversification of its brands. The partnerships are with different designers and influencers, but the expansion of the brands is still the same as Kohl’s focusing the company’s reach through consumers' diverse backgrounds.

The partnership with Brooklyn-based designer Alani Noelle, which brings a fashion voice for Puerto Rican heritage, is an example of Target’s Future Collective and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Alani Noelle collection offers bright, colorful, and tropical designs. Giving consumers a chance to see and experience apparel from different backgrounds.

Other partnerships expanding the diversity of the Future Collective are the collections from Kahlana Barfield Brown, Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, and Houston White. Both Brown and Karefa-Johnson demonstrate Target’s commitment to Black female entrepreneurs, who are creators and designers. All of these partnerships are an example of Target’s Racial Equity Action and Change (REACH) commitment. Target’s REACH commitment has four key areas of focus: Inclusive Work Environment, Inclusive Guest Environment, Supporting Communities and Being a Catalyst for civic engagement when it comes to Black Americans.

“By co-creating collections with a roster of amazing influencers who have diverse fashion perspectives, Future Collective is an exciting evolution in our owned brand assortment — offering guests more ways to celebrate their individual styles,” said Jill Sando, Target’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. “We’re thrilled to have our longtime Target partner Kahlana Barfield Brown help us introduce this first-of-its-kind Target brand that promises to bring guests ongoing inspiration, style and joy — all at an incredible value.”

Diversity and Inclusion are Key in Retail

The two retailers have a slightly different approaches to offering apparel and accessories to the masses, while also including diversity in their collections. Through collections offered at Kohl’s diversity, equity and inclusion expanded options that would be inclusive of youth looking for gender neutral and transition clothing. Another collection that was inclusive for a group that is often overlooked was for people with different abilities. The private labels that committed to offering creative adaptive clothing for people with disabilities were Sonoma Goods for Life, Tek Gear, and SO brands.

Target's expansion in its Future Collective was to be more inclusive to a much broader consumer base in reaching out to other cultures and heritages. Target has expanded its offerings to Latino communities and African American cultures.

Discover @ Kohl’s debuted in July 2022 and Target countered the launch with its Future Collective in September. Both collections offer a rotation of new and unique apparel and accessories to round out the rest of the store’s fashion collections. Offering a new set of customers, a chance to express themselves through creative clothing ensembles. Discover @ Kohl’s may have come first, but both retailers offer something new for the communities.

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