A bikini from Target's Kona Sol collection.

Target Corp., which in the last two years has been launching brands in rapid fire succession — think A New Day, Goodfellow & Co. and Universal Thread, plans to have in its portfolio 25 new owned and exclusive brands by the end of 2019.

One of the new brands, swimwear collection Kona Sol, bows today in stores and on target.com, and is designed to boost the retailer’s already impressive franchise. Target boasts the number-one market share in women’s swimwear, a distinction it’s held since 2015. Between the existing Xhilaration and Shade & Shore, Target offers more than 1,500 items.

Target on Thursday said same-store sales for the two months surged 5.7 percent compared with a 3.4 percent increase in the same period in 2017. Comparable digital sales shot up 29 percent. Based on the solid results for the November and December holiday period, the retailer said it was maintaining its guidance for the fourth quarter, including fourth-quarter comp store sales growth of about 5 percent and full year adjusted EPS of $5.30 to $5.50.

Kona Sol brings sophisticated styles geared for a slightly more mature consumer than Xhilaration’s trend-forward looks and junior fits. Xhilaration has a fashion-first sensibility and homes in on seasonal trends. Exclusive brand Shade and Shore, a bra-size swim collection, features luxurious fabrics and a contemporary and feminine aesthetic. Styles are available in cup and band sizes 32A to 38DDD for precise fits, with bottoms, XS to XL.

Two Xhilaration styles. 

With sizes XS to XL, Kona Sol offers slightly more coverage to help women feel more secure. Like many of Target’s new brands, Kona Sol has an element of size inclusivity with select styles available in 14W to 26W. Kona Sol features one-piece swimsuits and mix-and-match options that can also be coupled with pieces from Xhilaration. The retailer will offer more than a dozen fits across its swimwear brands.

Target said its consumer research found that wearing a swimsuit makes a lot of women feel vulnerable, but finding a swimsuit that fits well is the ultimate confidence booster.” Comfort is a key feature of Kona Sol with the brand incorporating “stay put” features to help shoppers feel secure in the swimwear, including hooks and fasteners, elastics, built-in bras and varying strap widths, among other things.

Target in recent years pruned its swimwear roster and eliminated labels that weren’t resonating with consumers. The retailer will cross merchandise its swim floor pads with shops for beach brands and sunglasses, hats, bags, cover-ups and flip-flops.

“Our goal is to offer a curated assortment of swimwear in a variety of styles, sizes and fits for all guests,” said Mark Tritton, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer of Target. “Kona Sol brings a modern, sophisticated aesthetic to our swimwear offerings that includes more tailored fits and styles. By offering several unique aesthetics across our assortment, our intent is to give all guests, both new and returning, even more reasons to shop Target.

“Guests have come rely on Target for our assortment of exclusive, on-trend swimwear in a range of sizes, at an incredible value,” Tritton added. “The new modern and sophisticated aesthetic of Kona Sol is something we’re sure our guests will love as a complement to both Xhilaration and Shade and Shore.”

Trends such as texture, including ribbed fabrications and smocking; ruching; stripes; dots; ruffles, and bunny ties, were scouted by Target’s teams who travelled to Australia, Hawaii, Miami and Las Vegas for ideas and inspiration. Yellow and red are the key colors of the season.

Asked whether there’s room for additional new swimwear lines, Tritton said, “Just as we’re looking to build new offerings across the entire business, including categories like essentials, beauty, electronics and more, we’ll continue evolve wherever we see a clear opportunity to better serve our guests and differentiate our assortment.”

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