A couple of weeks ago, Target announced its new collaboration with designer Lilly Pulitzer, and everyone was thrilled. A week after that, the mega-retailer announced it will only sell Lilly Pulitzer plus-sized clothes online, and everyone was less than thrilled. On Friday, Target responded to the negative feedback it received.
Refinery 29 reports that Target spokesman Joshua Thomas issued a response to the outcry over plus-size Pulitzer x Target only being available on the Web. Thomas says that the retailer tested selling plus-sized clothes in its 2011 collaboration with Calypso St. Barth, but things didn't go so well. He continued:
One thing we see with our limited-edition shoppers, shoppers who are really gravitating to these collaborations, is that they do a heavy amount of shopping online. It's that purchase behavior of "Is it available yet?" We're offering [plus sizes] on Target.com because Target.com gives us an opportunity to try different things. It affords us the opportunity to be flexible in terms of our assortment, and also, keeping in mind, the last time we did this, [offered plus in a designer collaboration,] it didn't work ...
We need to take a measured approach in terms of responding to the guests, because they say this is something they want to purchase; so we're hearing the feedback, we're seeing the feedback, and what I think is really important, we are responding to the feedback.
On one hand, I see why Target wouldn't want to include a certain type of offering in stores when offerings of the same ilk did not previously perform. Testing the sell-through of a product online is a great way for the retailer to see if said product draws enough demand to warrant an investment in placement in stores.
That said, if the average American woman is a size 16, having plus-size options in stores, even for special collections, seems prudent. Especially when customers have outright requested that Lilly Pulitzer plus-size items be on store shelves, not just digital shelves.
Customers absolutely adore the Lilly Pulitzer line, so, hopefully, for all our sakes, time will prove that the beloved retailer is indeed listening, and responding.