Target Taps Marimekko’s Nordic Touch for Its Latest Collection

Photograph courtesy of Target

Target (TGT) is following its North Star with its latest designer collaboration, a collection with Finnish design house Marimekko.

The collaboration, which features 200 items with Marimekko’s distinctive patterns and bright colors ranging from $7.99 to $499.99, is Target’s latest partnership as it continues to burnish its image for quirky but affordable temporary collections with brands that are normally pricier. This follows a partnership last year with Lilly Pulitzer and many others before that.

The Marimekko line spans outdoor décor, furniture, and items for entertaining, as well as beach and swimwear for women and girls. It goes on sale April 17. The Finnish brand, founded in 1951, has been known to Americans since Jackie Kennedy wore one of its dresses on the cover of Sports Illustrated.


Under the supervision of Julie Guggemos, senior vice president, product design and development, a team of Target designers travels to different countries to get ideas to spruce up its merchandise. Such collections, limited and temporary, don’t make the needle move at all for the $74 billion a year retailer. But they are crucial for bolstering its image of cheap chic to stand out from a crowded retail landscape filled with the likes of everyone from Walmart (WMT) to Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY).

“We’ve had our eye on Marimekko for quite some time,” Guggemos told a group of reporters at Target’s annual meeting with Wall Street analysts on Wednesday.

Target CEO Brian Cornell has made the broadly defined concept of “style” a key pillar of his strategy to make the retailer cool again. His team told investors to expect comparable sales to rise 3% a year starting in 2017, a performance that would mark an acceleration over recent years, including 2.1% last year. He is banking on the halo effect of collaborations like Marimekko to give Target’s everyday brands a lift. The store is in the midst of overhauling its in-house C9 apparel line.


Another of his priorities is to keep bolstering Target’s digital sales. Surely he’ll want to avoid a repeat of last year when the Lilly Pulitzer collection, most of which sold out in hours frustrating customers, almost caused to crash. Still, the company won’t disclose whether it ordered more merchandise for this collection.

“We want to satisfy demand, but still ensure the collections are limited, which is part of what makes them special and so coveted,” Target spokesman Joshua Thomas told Fortune in an email.

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