CHICAGO — Target Corp. will unveil one of its largest pop-up shops to date along Michigan Avenue here today.
This story first appeared in the May 6, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“We understand consumers are strapped,” said Joshua Thomas, a Target spokesman, “and we’re looking for new and relevant ways to talk to our guests about value and low prices.” Pop-up shops such as this one, Target’s first in Chicago, help the discount retailer generate buzz and access a new audience, he said.
Called Bullseye Bazaar, the 8,500-square-foot temporary shop, will run Thursday through Saturday, at 445 North Michigan Avenue, on the ground floor of the Tribune Tower. Special features include colorful clothing from surfer-turned-designer Tracy Feith, such as a $39.99 canvas dress, which will not be available in Target stores for another two weeks, and furniture usually only available online. Additionally, fashion stylist Jorge Ramon will be on hand Thursday to help customers assemble outfits, and celebrity makeup artist Sergio Lopez-Rivera will perform makeovers.
Inside, the three-day store will be accented with bright, graphic shades of yellow, red, white and black, while possessing the look of an outdoor market or bazaar with products displayed on stands and carts.
Target’s first pop-up shop dates back to 2002 when it launched the concept on a boat off Chelsea Piers in Manhattan, touting holiday gifts. In all, Target has unveiled more than 10 temporary shops, located mostly in New York or Los Angeles, ranging from a large warehouse location previewing Alexander McQueen’s collection in February to a double-decker bus that appeared on the streets of New York to promote its first Go International designer Luella Bartley in 2006. Thomas said the retailer measures the event’s success based on the level of buzz and sales.
And Target, which operates four city stores and handfuls in the suburbs, isn’t the only Chicago retailer to recognize the value of a pop-up shop in this economy.
Jake, which made a name for itself showcasing upscale emerging American designers, is hosting its own pop-up shop called “it’s great to be jake” highlighting merchandise from $50 to $250, with an average price of $125. The move is part of an overall reevaluation for the retailer, now down to two stores, which recently revamped some 50 percent of its merchandise to reflect a lower price point, after acquiring a silent investor in February.
“The days of the $1,200 day dress are gone,” said creative director Lance Lawson. “We’ve lowered our prices significantly. If customers are coming in and they’re going to spend $1,200, they don’t want one dress — they want more.”
Also, clients are no longer willing to try up-and-coming designers with price points at $1,000, he said. In turn, Jake has replaced some of its higher priced lines with new ones such as Bronchu Walker, a knit collection retailing at $250 to $400.
The specialty store’s pop-up shop, set to open May 15 at Jake’s city store along Rush Street and in its Winnetka location, will feature apparel such as $165 cropped jeans from Habitual, a $95 hot pink jersey scarf from Athe by Vanessa Bruno and an $85 heather gray dress by T by Alexander Wang, as well as books, candles and apothecary items.