Target Corp. is leaning into kids and inclusivity — hard.
The retailer on Tuesday announced Toys ‘R’ Us Powered by Target, digital capabilities and fulfillment services to support the new Toys ‘R’ Us e-commerce site and TRU experiential stores bowing in November in Houston and Paramus, N.J.
When Toys ‘R’ Us in March 2018 liquidated, Target was the retailer that most aggressively moved to capture its sales. Earlier this week, the Minneapolis-based retailer also launched Disney Stores at 25 Target locations.
“Target’s agreement to host the Toys ‘R’ Us web site is a positive move for Target, and deepens its commitment to the toy segment, which is a critical category during the holiday season,” said Moody’s lead retail analyst Charlie O’Shea. “This initiative continues Target’s enhanced focus on the toy category, which ramped up significantly following Toys ‘R’ Us’ bankruptcy and subsequent liquidation.
Target is also doubling down on inclusivity for kids with adaptive apparel. The Cat & Jack apparel line features details such as tagless construction, flat seams, zip-off hoods and extended zippers for easy diaper changes.
“We launched Cat & Jack a couple years ago,” said Mark Tritton, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer of Target. “It’s a multibillion-dollar business. Some of the designers working on it embraced the idea of the brand being intended for all kids. One of the designers has a child with a medical condition that requires tubing, which means putting a hole in the clothing.”
“We’ve seen how little design details in our Cat & Jack adaptive apparel and Pillowfort sensory-friendly pieces can have a huge impact,” said Julie Guggemos, senior vice president of owned brand management and product design at Target. “We’re bringing that same spirit of inclusivity to our new Hyde & EEK! boutique kids’ costumes.”
Tritton said the precedent comes from Target’s size-inclusive women’s brands. “We’ve asked women to give us feedback,” he said. “We just launched Auden, an intimates brand that was grounded in feedback from women who couldn’t find a high-quality bra that fit and was affordable. So we really partnered with our guest feedback department and guests to create the line.
“One of the things that differentiates Target is its product design department,” Tritton said. “It’s almost always using guests to help with designing the products. It’s very common for us to bring kids to headquarters and ask them for feedback on colors, styles and fit.”
Stacey Monsen, the designer, whose nine-year-old daughter has autism, said she’s always had to plan for Halloween far in advance, including making the costume because she doesn’t want things on her head or against her skin. “We wanted to offer amazing costumes with adaptive features for people who are on tight budgets or don’t have the time or inclination to create something from scratch,” she said.
“What’s unique and distinctive about our marketing is that it’s really inclusive from a casting perspective,” said Rick Gomez, Target’s executive vice president and chief marketing and digital officer. “That means cultural backgrounds, ages and size inclusivity. A big part of what sets us apart from our competitors is this idea of, ‘for everyone.'”
Target doesn’t offer an adaptive apparel line for adults, but it does have adaptive options for them. The decision, as always is driven by consumers and their needs. “We do a ton of guest research to understand what are the unmet needs,” Gomez said. “If we see a need in the marketplace, we design around it.”
“The idea of design for all, which started with our designer collaborations has really become who we are and is really much bigger than just the designer collaborations,” Gomez said.