Target on Thursday announced its arrival in the "upside down" with a merchandising effort in partnership with the popular Netflix series "Stranger Things," which begins streaming its second season Oct. 27.
Items for sale, available next week, include a retro-inspired Season 1 Blu-Ray/DVD set (available in a box designed to look like a VHS tape, a nod to the show’s 1980s setting), apparel, accessories and more, according to a company blog post. The soundtrack, with music from "Stranger Things" plus 80s classics from The Police, The Bangles, Duran Duran and others, can be pre-ordered starting Oct. 13.
The assortment also includes eight “Stranger Things” Funko characters and (more 80s-like) action figures (two packages, one with Eleven, Lucas and Mike and the other featuring Dustin, Will and a Demogorgon), all released Oct. 15. Women’s and men’s sweatshirts and T-shirts will also be available Oct. 15.
Target has long sought to get people into its stores and onto its website with differentiated merchandise, and executives have promised to maximize that push.
The retailer earlier this year announced plans to unveil 12 new private label lines in apparel and home to cement its "Tar-zhay" image, which will be key to offsetting the price war the retailer and its rivals are in when it comes to grocery and consumables. Last month, the retailer made investors nervous with its announcement that it’s slashing prices "on thousands of items, from cereal and paper towels to baby formula, razors, bath tissue and more."
GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders in August praised Target’s merchandising effort as "credible and compelling," noting exclusive new brands like Cat & Jack in kids clothing, Pillowfort in homewares and Cloud Island in baby. "Our only criticism is that Target does not always do a good job of showcasing these offers in store, although we accept this is something the group is in the process of remedying," he said in an email to Retail Dive.
The exclusive nature of so many tie-ins to such a popular show is likely to lure customers at a time when shoppers and retailers alike are thinking about the upcoming holidays. Mark Tritton, Target executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, said in a blog post that more Netflix-themed merchandise is on the way. "Netflix and the wildly popular programs they create have become part of our culture and our guests’ everyday lives," he said in a statement.
The Stranger Things effort with Target makes sense for Netflix, too, according to Shauna Spenley, Netflix vice president of marketing and consumer products. "We’re excited to connect fans with the shows they love," Spenley said in a statement, adding that the partnership is part of a broader marketing approach.