Can Marks & Spencer help Target replicate its designer collab magic in grocery?

Discussion
Photos: Target/Marks & Spencer
Nov 01, 2022

Target limited-edition drops are a big part of the chain’s cheap chic appeal. Many of the fashion and home products from top designers and direct-to-consumer brands sell out almost as soon as they are rolled out. Could the retailer have plans to try and transfer that type of merchandising and marketing magic to its grocery aisles?

The retailer last week said that it is partnering with Marks & Spencer to introduce a curated assortment of the British retailer’s gourmet candy, cookie and tea gifts for the holiday season. A total of 15 items will be included in the collection and sold in Target’s stores and target.com beginning in mid-November. This is the first time that the two retailers have worked together.

A press release from Target emailed to media outlets said that the items are “highly giftable, on-trend products, all at great value.”  The Marks & Spencer at Target items will include Santa’s Magical Light Up Chocolate Workshop — a mini-snow dusted milk, dark and white chocolate house with lights inside the lid. The Shortbread Biscuit Light-Up Lantern doubles as a decoration with the bonus of delicious buttery cookies inside. The Gingerbread Musical House Tin is filled with tiny gingerbread houses and, true to its description, comes with a holiday tune. The Shortbread Biscuit Bus Tin is designed to look like one of London’s double-decker buses.

The Marks & Spencer SKUs will run between $7.99 and $14.99. Target will roll out the assortment in mid-November and have it available through the 2022 Holiday season in most Target stores, on Target.com and through Target’s industry-leading same-day services, including Drive Up, Pick Up and Same-Day Delivery with Shipt.

“One of the things that differentiates Target is the way we make style affordable and accessible for all and this partnership is the latest example of us building on that legacy in food and beverage,” Rick Gomez, executive vice president and chief food and beverage officer, Target, said in a statement. “By joining forces with an iconic brand like Marks & Spencer, we’re bringing our guests amazing products and giving them another reason to turn to Target for the moments of joy that make the holidays special.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Target be able to translate its fashion collaboration magic to its food and beverage business? Do you expect the Marks & Spencer at Target line to be successful?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Hyper-localizing this collaboration will be critical to consumers that know the brand and have traveled to the UK or are fans of M&S."
"Let’s hope Target takes more lessons from M&S in terms of private label development as it looks to further amp up its grocery business in 2023."
"Although it’s doubtful that most Target shoppers have heard of Marks & Spencer, the novelty and Britishness of the confection collection will bring holiday-friendly newness."

Join the Discussion!

20 Comments on "Can Marks & Spencer help Target replicate its designer collab magic in grocery?"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

There are very few retailers in the world that are as innovative in food as M&S. This is especially so when it comes to treats and holiday fare. I expect the limited selection of ranges to do well in Target, both because they have novelty appeal and because they deliver on quality and taste. Depending on how Target promotes them, there may also be an element of Brit-appeal to the American audience. Overall, they will make for great gifts or self-purchases. Let’s hope Target takes more lessons from M&S in terms of private label development as it looks to further amp up its grocery business in 2023.

Dick Seesel
BrainTrust

I expect the M&S collection to sell out quickly, if Target’s history with other designers is any guide. It will give the food business a short-term sales and traffic boost, but 15 SKUs may not have the lasting impact that Target is aiming for. The first several collaborations showed the company’s risk-averse side (in terms of inventory levels), and I hope Target can avoid disappointing customers who will be shopping for the Marks & Spencer goods.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

Designer collaborations have been a primary underpinning in Target’s transformation from just another shopping stop into the exemplary destination store it is today. So absolutely, this collaboration with M&S is not just smart, it is being executed with brilliant timing.

Carol Spieckerman
BrainTrust

Although it’s doubtful that most Target shoppers have heard of Marks & Spencer, the novelty and Britishness of the confection collection will bring holiday-friendly newness. It’s a well-timed trial for a food and beverage brand foray.

Melissa Minkow
BrainTrust

This is what I’m wondering — how many Target shoppers know of M&S? But I agree, either way it’s a fun collaboration and very holiday-appropriate.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

If it is unique and desirable — I think it is — the fact that it is M&S will not be very relevant.

Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

Another home run for Target. Target continues to set the bar for brand collaboration and marketing.

Liza Amlani
BrainTrust

As a Brit, this collab excites me to no end! The only thing I would caution Target on is their rollout strategy. Target has access to data to better understand if the M&S assortment will resonate with their consumer. Hyper-localizing this collaboration will be critical to consumers that know the brand and have traveled to the UK or are fans of M&S. And what M&S does best is gift and food at Christmas!

Lisa Goller
BrainTrust

Strategic partnerships elevate the perception of Target from a discounter to an upscale experience. This new collaboration makes premium UK food products accessible and makes Target even more attractive.

Target’s curated M&S line will appeal to ravenous fans and expand the iconic brand’s reach to more U.S. shoppers. Post-Brexit, U.S.-UK trade has heated up. Bringing Cool Britannia to the competitive grocery space distinguishes Target from its rivals.

David Spear
BrainTrust

The psychology of purchasing apparel and food/beverage is very different. Is there some pixie dust that can be taken from one and spread over the other that translates into revenue? Maybe. There’s no doubt this collaboration offers uniqueness, but will consumers act with impulse and buy OR pause, think about their inflation-busted budget and walk away? I’m betting on the latter.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

I believe there is a lot of pixie dust on this collaboration.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

There is very little to add to my colleagues’ thoughts. This is magic!

The one thing I will add is the buzz it creates from Target shoppers. “You will never guess what I saw in Target!” Maybe greater buzz than with Target’s other collaborations?

Phil Rubin
BrainTrust

One key to success for Target is making sure its shoppers understand what is special about M&S and its line of foods. Given the state of the economy these types of gifts, with their British heritage, should do well in the U.S., assuming there is the proper education as likely a large percentage of shoppers are unfamiliar with the line.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

I wish them well, but I have trouble seeing this as moving the needle much. And (those savvy on UK retail) correct me if I’m wrong, but while there are stores noted for their food halls, I don’t believe M&S is one of them.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

M&S has struggled with general merchandise, especially apparel. However, its food business is first class and is held in extremely high regard and with much affection by consumers. That’s evidenced in its market beating growth over the last 3 years; indeed, it was one of the best performing food chains in the first half of this year. Admittedly, M&S doesn’t have the kind of food halls that Selfridges, Harrods or Fortnum & Mason have — but those are exceptions in the London market, they are not where the vast majority of people shop for their food. M&S’s new format food departments are more mainstream but they are exceptionally good with a modern design, loads of counters and features like herb “gardens,” “on the go” food areas, and of course, loads of great food products!

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

Thanks Neil; yes, Fortnum and Mason — and their legendary picnic hampers — were specifically who I was thinking of (though I’m not sure how well that kind of offering would fare in the American market.) Hopefully consumers will be more knowledgeable than I am … or at least more responsive.

Gwen Morrison
BrainTrust

Great novelty items to add to holiday gift baskets, stockings, etc. Would be fun if they did a Target accessories line for M&S in the UK to compliment the collaboration.

Brad Halverson
Guest

Target historically has given shoppers surprise and delight from so many product collaborations. And this move will continue to differentiate Target from other retailers. The food treats from far away M&S will require ample story telling about quality from the UK to engage US customers. But once customers see the packaging and taste it, they’ll love it. A great move by Target.

Kai Clarke
BrainTrust

Yes! Target will extend its designer product success to the grocery aisles with the M&S brand. Target has already attracted this customer and they are in the store shopping. Redirecting their attention in the grocery aisle is a natural extension for Target.

Anil Patel
BrainTrust

Customers are more inclined to shop for foreign products. Marks & Spencer being a European brand will reciprocate positive results for Target. Additionally, the curated “holiday special assortment” will be like a cherry on the cake for customers.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Hyper-localizing this collaboration will be critical to consumers that know the brand and have traveled to the UK or are fans of M&S."
"Let’s hope Target takes more lessons from M&S in terms of private label development as it looks to further amp up its grocery business in 2023."
"Although it’s doubtful that most Target shoppers have heard of Marks & Spencer, the novelty and Britishness of the confection collection will bring holiday-friendly newness."

Take Our Instant Poll

How important do you think limited-edition collaborations will be for Target’s food and beverage business in the years to come?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...