Tuesday, December 31, 2013

More troubles for Target: this time with Gift Cards

Target has another problem on its hands this holiday shopping season. Separate from the data breach that affected some 40 million people who shopped at the retailer between November 27 and December 15, Fox News is reporting that thousands of gift cards sold over the holidays weren't properly activated. As a result, some gift card recipients are left rankled after finding out their present was worth about as much as a lump of coal at the register.

A source confirmed that cashiers scanned the wrong code on the cards, and that the mistake could impact up to 40,000 gift cards sold across the country. This latest black eye for the bulls-eye brand has caused headaches for customers and store employees alike as shoppers tried to spend their holiday cash only to find out their gift cards weren't properly processed at checkout and had no value.

A Target spokesperson said company is aware that some gift cards weren't activated correctly; however, they say customers can go to the guest services desk or call the number on the back of the card for help. Unfortunately, the same call volume issues that hit the retailer after the data breach seemed to extend to that phone number as well. When Fox 9 called the number, a recording stated, "We're sorry, but we are extremely busy. So, the wait to speak to a team member is much longer than usual. If your question is urgent, please stay on the line. Otherwise, you may want to call back in a bit."

Monday, December 30, 2013

Target's brand takes a big hit after security breach...

Famed investor Warren Buffet once said "It takes 20 years to build a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently." With Target, the retailer is finding that its response to the massive security breach a few weeks ago is falling flat with consumers.

CBS News reports that Target's brand has plunged in perception, according to YouGov's BrandIndex, which taps into an online panel of 2.5 million people to measure how consumers rate corporate reputations. In the days following the company's disclosure of the hack, Target's brand plunged by 35 points on BrandIndex's scale, which ranges from a high of 100 to a low of -100. That means that Target's brand score dropped to -9 on Dec. 20, from 26 points the week before the security breach was announced.

If that's not bad enough, Target has gone further into the red, despite a discount offer last weekend and efforts by the retailer to staff up call centers and to reach out to customers. The company's BrandIndex score stood at -19 on Dec. 23. Despite the 10 percent discount and the offer of free credit monitoring, "the retailer has reached its lowest consumer perception point since at least June 2007," said BrandIndex managing director Ted Marzilli. "This also marks the first time since that same time that Target has had more negative perception than positive perception."

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Makeup tips from Napoleaon Perdis...

Napoleon Perdis - the makeup artist behind the NP Set cosmetics line available exclusively at Target - recently shared his top 3 makeup tips with Harper's Bazaar. Click here to learn his secrets to having sculpted cheekbones, wider eyes, and fuller lips in minutes.

Holiday creep hits Target...

I've written about "holiday creep" many times on my blog before: how Target barely gets over one holiday without moving to another. And consistent with last year, Target already has Valentine's Day merchandise out just a few days after Christmas, as shown by this heart-themed endcap I spied in the Baby Department yesterday.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Double-Take: Ballard Designs vs. Target

It's time for another double-take, where we take one item from the Bullseye and pair it up with a lookalike designer piece. Here we have two very similar rustic bar stools, which could also double as a small end table. But one of these chic seats is the "Allen" style by Ballard Designs and will set you back $149, whereas the other is the "Dakota" style (at Target) and costs only $67.99 (currently on sale from $79.99). Which one is which? The answer appears in the comments section below.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Target's post-holiday sale

Good morning readers! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. Are you up and out already this morning hitting the post-Christmas sales? I am not - and more on that in a sec - but if you're game, Target's after-Christmas clearance started this morning at 7am. I perused their new ad (posted online) this morning, and it seems like pretty standard fare, including half-off all holiday decor, wrapping paper and ribbon, and lots of storage products to store all those ornaments and decorations. They also have deals on electronics - including TVs and game systems - as well as 40% off all winter clothing, boots, and slippers.

As for me: I don't shop Target the day after Christmas because I find that if you wait a couple of days - to say the 27th or 28th - you get a better selection. Think about it: it takes stores at least a day to get all those Christmas returns back on the racks. Target was already pretty picked over in the days leading up to Christmas, so I prefer to let the holiday returns trickle in to have more to choose from. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Target backlash continues...

The backlash against Target continues, and now it's not just all about the massive security breach that affected the retailer over Black Friday weekend.

While Target offered a "10% off weekend" to try to lure shoppers back to stores, I heard on NPR this morning that sales were still down 3-4%. Not good news for a major retailer during the Holiday season.

Also: JP Morgan Chase, the largest bank in the United States, told customers on Saturday that they would be limited to $100 in cash withdrawals and $300 in total purchases per day if they had used Chase debit cards at Target during the recent security breach. While the limit does not apply to Chase credit cards, many news outlets interviewed affected customers over the weekend who were not happy about the limits placed on their debit cards in the last few days before Christmas.

And finally: Beyonce has no love for the Bullseye at the moment. Business Insider reports the pop star (shown here) walked through a Walmart store in Tewksbury, Mass., on Friday night, announcing that everyone there would get a $50 gift card. With 750 customers, the tab came to $37,500. Beyoncé was sending Target a message: Boycott my new album and I'll give my love and dollars to a competitor.

The controversy surrounds the release of Beyoncé's latest album, "XO." On Dec. 13, Beyoncé surprised fans and brick-and-mortar retailers with the sudden release of the album only at Apple's iTunes store for the first week. The 14-track, 17-video digital album was priced at $15.99. The album became an overnight bestseller, with more than 1 million copies sold so far. But some retailers, such as Target and Amazon, were not amused by her one-week exclusive deal with Apple, and have refused to carry the album as a result.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Lim leaves stores, but some items still online

The 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target collection disappeared from stores a few weeks ago - right around Thanksgiving. Meaning: the clearance racks of all those leftover blue and sequined dresses were cleared, probably headed for your local Goodwill stores. The Lim items I've seen recently in stores have been far and few between, and I notice that if you scan the barcode, it comes up "item not found". That indicates that Lim merchandise is no longer in Target's database, so you'll get the item at the last price listed on the tag without it being discounted any further.

Meanwhile, there's still some deals on the few Lim goodies left on Target.com. The best of the bunch  - which also seems to be available in all sizes - is this Ruffle Tank in Navy (shown) or in White. At 65% off, it's now just $9.44 (down from $29.99).

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Target offers "10% Off" Weekend...

NBC News reports that Target is offering its 10 percent employee discount to shoppers this weekend following a massive breach of its customers’ credit and debit card information.

“Our guests’ trust is our top priority at Target and we are committed to making this right,” Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement on Target’s website Friday.

The cyberattack “was a crime against Target, our team members, and most importantly, our guests,” Steinhafel said. “We’re in this together, and in that spirit, we are extending a 10 percent discount — the same amount our team members receive — to guests who shop in U.S. stores on Dec. 21 and 22. Again, we recognize this issue has been confusing and disruptive during an already busy holiday season. We want to emphasize that the issue has been addressed and let guests know they can shop with confidence at their local Target stores.”

The offer is limited to one in-store transaction per guest. Target has also pledged free credit monitoring for affected customers.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Target Hit by Credit-Card Breach over Black Friday Weekend

Business Insider reports that Target is investigating a possible data breach that could involve millions of customers' credit and debit card information. According to journalist Brian Krebs - who cites "multiple reliable sources," - the breach appears to have affected Target stores nationwide and may happened over the course of several days on or around Black Friday.

"The breach window is definitely expanding," a source identified as an anti-fraud analyst at a top-10 U.S. bank card issuer told Krebs. "We can’t say for sure that all stores were impacted, but we do see customers all over the U.S. that were victimized."

And as of this writing, Consumerist reports that the U.S. Secret Service confirmed to the Wall St. Journal that it is investigating the data breach that is believed to have taken advantage of a vulnerability in the network of some 40,000 card-scanning devices at Target stores nationwide. I wonder if that's why the clerk at the San Mateo, CA store today asked me to scan my card personally, saying all the card scanners in the store were down - ?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Target's "Seasonal Shipping"

Target is offering "seasonal shipping" on most (if not all) items on Target.com ordered through Dec. 19th. That is the cutoff date to order to get items by Dec. 24th at no extra charge. Target.com should automatically set the "seasonal shipping" option for you, but if not, you can select it when you place your order.

Meanwhile, I visited my local store yesterday and hate to say that things were already pretty picked over. I heard one clerk tell someone over the phone they "only got a few at our store and they sold out yesterday" - I'm assuming that might have been the Nintendo or Sony Playstation game systems that Target had on sale this week. And a gentleman who was looking for thermal underwear in the men's department was told by another clerk they were sold out of that, too. I have definitely noticed a more limited selection on certain items this year, like the Merona men's flannel sleep pants that I usually get as stocking stuffers for my boys. This year, they come in fewer prints than previous years. And my aunt reports that her favorite Hanes fleece pants are practically sold out of our local stores (and have already disappeared from Target.com).

Friday, December 13, 2013

Double-Take: Elan vs. Mossimo

It's time for another double-take, where we take one item from Target and match it against a similar - yet pricer - piece. Now you may have noticed that embellished sweatshirts are a definite trend this season. And here we have two versions in lovely lace. Both are simple gray sweatshirts with black lace trim, but one is by Elan (available at Piperlime for $69) whereas the other is by Mossimo (at Target) and will only set you back about $20. Which one is which? The answer appears in the comments section below.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Nate Berkus Holiday Collection

You've probably already seen the Nate Berkus for Target Holiday Collection, as it hit stores several weeks ago. In a new Q&A on A Bullseye View, Nate reveals the inspiration behind latest offerings, stating "my holiday collection at Target this year focuses on something that will work well beyond the holidays… black, white and gold. It’s a timeless color combination that adds some shine to your holiday decor but will work well into the spring — long after the garland has come down." Nate continues: "It’s funny, I never follow the trends — I just design what I love. I’ve been designing with brass, gold and metallic for years. It always works, and your eye will never get tired of it." 

These particular vases (shown) were also featured last week on Good Morning America as part of their "Great Gifts Under $35" segment. Kate Dimmock, fashion director for People StyleWatch, dubbed them "the perfect gift for the woman who’s been bitten by the decorating bug."

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New @ Target.com: The Awesome Shop

Long-time readers of my blog might remember Target's "Red Hot Shop". It disappeared in early 2008, then re-appeared that August, then disbanded again in 2011. Now Target seems to have resurrected the concept with their new online "Awesome Shop", dubbed a place for "cool stuff everyone's talking about." There's a lot to wade through - with over 1,000 products currently listed - but products that are highly reviewed or "top pinned" (@ Pinterest) are flagged, which is helpful.

Friday, November 29, 2013

"Early Black Friday" deemed a success...

Good morning, readers! I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday. Did you ditch the traditional turkey dinner in order to take advantage of this year's "early Black Friday" hours? Sadly, it looks like many folks did, as a check of CNN.com this morning has "Shopping Trumps Turkey" as the lead headline, with a follow-up story announcing that "Target's Black Friday deals draw big lines." The article cites "some 200 people were braving the cold in hopes of nabbing Black Friday deals at the Target in West Philadelphia" by 7:30pm last night, with Target opening at 8. Most of the people in line said they wanted the "doorbuster" sale item -- a 50-inch Element TV for $229 that usually sells for $600 -- available by ticket to the first 50 people in line. The other big sale item was Beats By Dre headphones on sale for $115, normally $179.

So whether we like it or not, it looks like this trend is here to stay. I for one didn't shop yesterday, and won't be shopping today, either, unless it's online. I will, however, be shopping local tomorrow to support Small Business Saturday.

What about you, readers? Did you brave the crowds yesterday? Are you stuck at the mall right now? Or, like me, are you comfortably curled up in your jammies enjoying your morning coffee?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Fab Find: Mossimo Longsleeve Sheer Blouse

For years I used to dress up on holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, with a dress and boots being my typical "uniform". But now that my parents are aging - and my husband and I are doing most of the holiday cooking for the family - I find myself gravitating towards more casual and comfortable duds to navigate the kitchen in.

So these days, a dressy blouse and jeans are my go-to outfit for holiday gatherings. Which is why I was thrilled to find this pretty bright blue Mossimo blouse on clearance for just $7.48 in stores! [On Target.com, it looks like the clearance price is $17.48, down from $24.99].

Note that this blouse IS sheer, so a cami is mandatory underneath. It also has a cool exposed zipper in the back, and I liked it so much, I also bought it in green. I'm not sure which color I'll wear tomorrow, but whichever I choose I'll pair it with this elegant statement necklace I also found on clearance (for $12-something, down from $16.99).

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Product Review: Mossimo Ultrasoft Sweaters

For a few years running now, Mossimo (at Target) has produced a line of sweaters and sweater dresses dubbed "Ultrasoft", and I used to be a fan. However, this year I've found the quality to be off. They're simply not as soft as they used to be, and they also seem thinner. This style in particular (shown here) seemed almost see-thru; I carried one around in this exact color in the store the other day, but decided to pass on it because of it's sheerness.

On the flipside: my Aunt absolutely loves these sweaters (especially the classic v-neck style) and has bought one in just about every color. What about you, readers? Are you a fan of this line, and if so, have you noticed that the quality is different?

Target's Pre-Black Friday Sale

For those of you wanting to avoid Black Friday mall madness, you may want to check out Target's Pre-Black Friday sale, going on now through Wednesday in stores and on Target.com. Bargains include 40% off all women's jeans and sweaters, including the popular Mossimo Ultrasoft line (although IMO, the Ultrasoft quality is lacking this year, which I'll blog about shortly).

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Product Review: Sonia Kashuk's New Radiant Tinted Moisturizer

On Monday I told you about Sonia Kashuk's new & improved Radiant Tinted Moisturizer (at Target) and then on Tuesday I alerted you that the new packaging has a serious design flaw. So I thought I'd round out the week with a review of the product itself.

After trying it out, I can tell you the product is noticeably different. The consistency is thicker - more like regular foundation makeup than a tinted moisturizer - although it still goes on relatively sheer. The product is also drier and much less creamy than the previous formula, and this is probably due to the fact that they've upped the amount of titanium dioxide. It now contains 3.8%, which is clearly marked now under "active ingredients". Previously, the trace amount of titanium dioxide was only listed at the end under the list of "may contain" items. This is evident as soon as you squeeze out the product, as it smells very much like sunscreen lotion.

In short, I'm not a fan of this new formula. For my combination skin, the revised product is too drying. Maybe this will work better for me in the summer months when my skin tends to be more oily, but for now, I'll be using up my "stash" of a couple bottles of the older formulation.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Look for Less: J.Crew vs. Mossimo

I can't quite turn this post into a "double-take" because the stock photos will give it away. But nonetheless: if you're coveting J.Crew's Leather Panel V-neck Sweater in Khaki (but can't stomach the $158 price tag) then you might want to consider Mossimo's version (at Target) instead for just $27.99. Both designs are very similar, except J.Crew's sweater (shown on the girl at far left) is made of a blend of merino wool/cashmere/nylon with real leather trim, whereas Mossimo's is made of 100% cotton with faux leather trim. Mossimo's version also comes in other color options (black, purple and gray) whereas J.Crew's does not.

And the winner is...

The winner of my latest blog giveaway - for the FEED USA + Target iPhone5 case - is reader Patricia Stauffer Patricia's entry was picked by the random number generator over at Random.org. Congrats, Patricia; I've emailed you for your mailing address, and as soon as you sent it to me I'll send you your prize. And thanks again to everyone who entered and for reading my blog!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tuesday's Rant: Sonia Kashuk's New Tinted Moisturizer Bottle

On Tuesdays I sometimes take the opportunity to rant about something I do not like about Target… because although I love ‘em to death, they ain’t perfect. So just yesterday I told you that Sonia Kashuk was changing her formulation and packaging of my beloved Radiant Tinted Moisturizer. I can't speak to the quality of the new product, as I haven't tried it yet. But I can tell you about the new packaging, which is flawed.

Take a look at this picture I snapped in store. Note the area I've marked with a red arrow. The issue is that the cap doesn't fully close, no matter how hard you push it in. Upon further inspection, I found this to be the case in about 1/4 of the dozen or so bottles out on the shelf. While the snap-cap is a good idea in theory - as the older packaging had a screw cap in which the product could build up and cause waste - it's simply defective. Therefore, my advice is to check the cap before you buy to make sure you get a "good" one.

If you're a fan of the older formulation and packaging, you can try to still find it in store. However, the store I visited had already swapped out the old product for the new. You can also try to find the original product on Target.com, although a quick check online this morning shows that it's sold out in all shades except Honey and Tan.

New at Target: Orla Kiely Method Bottles in Holiday Scents

Lo and behold, it looks like Orla Kiely is continuing her association with Method and Target! Yesterday I spied two new holiday Method scents in store: festive red-printed Hollyberry and sparkly-silver patterned Peppermint Vanilla. Both limited-edition Method/Orla fragrances come in hand wash, foam wash, and spray cleanser. And as always, all are made of biodegradable formulas containing no harsh ingredients and recyclable bottles made with 100% recycled plastic.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Coming to Target: Sonia Kashuk's "New & Improved" Tinted Moisturizer

Regular readers of this blog will recall that I'm a big fan of Sonia Kashuk's Radiant Tinted Moisturizer. So it's with mixed emotions that I report that the product is about to change. I hope it's for the better, but IMO, product upgrades like this don't always end up "better" than the original formulation.

The "new & improved" formula is supposed to include a "combination of vitamins C and E that delivers antioxidant protection and a more youthful look over time," and offer "long-wearing color that perfects and soften the skin." The new product is both paraben and fragrance-free (although I never detected a particular fragrance in the past). And the packaging is also changing to a "sleeker and super-portable tube" (shown on far left) with a clear window to now show the actual shade of the product, although the same quantity of product will be housed inside.

What's not changing is the infusion of SFP 15 (to protect against UVA and UVB rays) and the color range (which will still be offered in the same 5 shades of Fair, Linen, Beige, Tan and Honey). Look for Sonia's new Radiant Tinted Moisturizer to hit stores in December.

Reader Giveaway: FEED USA + Target iPhone 5 Case

Hello readers! It's time for another reader giveaway as an expression of thanks to all of you who read my blog. This time I'm giving away a brand-new with tags FEED USA + Target iPhone 5 case. This case retailed for $25, and please note this giveaway is for the denim/red polka-dot print version shown here on the left.

To win, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post along with your email address by midnight on Thursday, Nov. 21st. This giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only (one entry per person, please) and the winner (picked at random) will be announced on Friday, Nov. 22nd. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Not as advertised...

Remember the limited-edition Lay's Chocolate-covered Potato Chips at Target I told you about the other day? Well, reader Cotton Candy alerts me that they are "not as advertised".

First off, the bag is quite small - more along the size of a "snack size" bag. I snapped this pic in store to try and show you, adding a bag of Chex Mix to the shelf as a size comparison.

Second, I'm told they don't actually look like the chips shown on the bag. In reality, each chip is only "half dipped" in milk chocolate, leaving the other half just a regular potato chip. IMO, it's pretty misleading to show a fully-dipped chip on the front if that's not what you're getting.

And third, many stores seem to already be out of these special chips. I'm not sure whether Target will be re-stocking throughout the holidays, but if you're looking for them, your best bet is to check the Seasonal Food and Beverage section of your local store (not in the regular chip aisle).

Monday, November 11, 2013

New at Target: Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone, a leading provider of education technology solutions, has finalized a partnership with Target that will make its language-learning solutions available in more than 1,300 of their stores across North America and online through Target.com.

Target will offer Rosetta Stone English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German software in both introductory Level 1 and complete Level 1-5 sets. In stores, the products will be displayed in Target's promotional end-caps, where they will enjoy high visibility during the upcoming holiday shopping season.

"People all over the world have come to understand the value of speaking a new language, and our partnership with Target makes it easier for millions of Americans to get started on that journey," said Kevin Martini, Vice President of Retail Sales & Marketing at Rosetta Stone. "We want to make our language-learning technology available to people wherever they are-and Target helps us advance that goal in a significant way. We're thrilled that our core product will now be available to customers through one of the world's most popular shopping destinations."

Friday, November 8, 2013

Decades of Denim...

Target's corporate blog A Bullseye View has posted a fun retrospective of their denim advertisements over the past four decades. Shown here is an ad circa 1977, showcasing men's brushed jeans on sale for just $7.88 and boy's indigo jeans for only $5.99. Doesn't the main model (in green) look just like Burt Reynolds? And take note of the $1.99 boy's "Charlie's Angels" t-shirt for just $1.99 in the upper right!

For more vintage jean gems, check out the the full blog post here on A Bullseye View.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Target out of Method? Try Soap.com instead!

Way back in February I lamented that none of my local Target stores carried Method's Body Wash anymore. Several readers suggested looking for it at TJ Maxx or Bed, Bath & Beyond - which I did - and I had no luck there, either. Then in April I wrote the folks at Method who told me they were working on new formulations and that Target would be restocked soon. But that never happened.

So the other day I decided to take my own advice (posted in September) about trying to order Method via Soap.com. I was so impressed by the experience that I decided to give them a shout-out here on my blog. Ordering was easy-peasy; first I went to Method's site and picked out the Body Wash products I wanted (they have both the "Pure Naked" and "Marine Naturals" varieties) as well as several of the limited-edition Orla Kiely Hand Wash bottles (in Primrose, Tomato Vine, and Vanilla Chai scents).

Once you put everything in your cart, you are re-directed to Soap.com to complete your transaction. And before I knew it, I had reached the $35 shipping minimum, which meant my order shipped for free. Best of all, delivery was so fast! I ordered on a Saturday afternoon and my shipment came on Monday. I was also impressed that Soap.com packaged everything so well, taping shut all the bottles (in order to prevent leakage) and then wrapping everything in bubble-wrap. I will definitely be using Soap.com again the next time I'm out of my favorite Method products!

Target Offers $200 iPad Trade-In Deal

PCMag reports that Target is running a promotion that will provide those who trade in their old iPad with a gift card worth at least $200. From now until Nov. 9th, those who visit a Target Mobility store and trade in their iPad will get "at least $200" to use toward the purchase of a new iPad Air or other Target merchandise.

"Your device will be appraised in-store at the mobility kiosk," according to Target. "The $200 minimum promotional credit will be issued on a Target Trade-In Gift Card and is redeemable in any Target store."

To qualify, an iPad "must power on and screen must not be scratched," Target said. Once the promotion ends, customers can still trade in their old iPads in stores and online for Target gift cards up to $300, but in some cases, it could be less than the $200 being offered during this week's deal.

Monday, November 4, 2013

New at Target: Lay's Chocolate-covered Potato Chips

According to USA Today, Lay's is rolling out chocolate-covered potato chips this week, available exclusively at Target stores and for a limited time only. Lay's Wavy Potato Chips Dipped in Milk Chocolate will retail for $3.49 for a 5-ounce bag, and will only be available through the holidays.

While the initial test run is for limited-time only, if the chip is a major hit, then it could ultimately become permanent, says Ram Krishnan, vice president of marketing at Frito-Lay. "When you try something drastically different, you have to walk before you can run," says Krishnan. "We wanted to test our way through this before we go big."

Plenty of smaller rivals already have chocolate-dipped chips on the market. Trader Joe's in particular has had a chocolate-covered potato chip product on the shelves for years. But outside of its Rold Gold pretzels dipped in chocolate, mixing chocolate and salty snacks is new territory for Lay's. If consumers buy it, says Krishnan, "it gives us latitude to offer other flavor combinations that we've never done." Among them, he says, would be dark chocolate, white chocolate and even peppermint.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sonia Kashuk Bath & Body now on pre-sale on Target.com

Remember the new Sonia Kashuk Bath & Body line I told you about last week? It doesn't officially hit stores until Nov. 10th, but if you're dying to get your hands on it early, it's available now for "pre-sale" on Target.com.  According to Sonia's blog, the collection comes in 4 distinct fragrances: delicate Pink Innocencia, sensual Purple Seductia, uplifting Yellow Alluriana and voluptuous Red Promisia.

And if you happen to reside in (or be visiting) NYC next week, be sure to visit Sonia's first-ever Pop-Up Shop at  Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal on Monday Nov. 4th from 7am - 9pm.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

95-year old retires from Target after 45 years on the job...

Talk about dedication! A 95-year-old Bloomington, Minnesota woman is retiring from Target after 45 years on the job. According to Minneapolis CBS station WCCO, Jeanne Brouillet started with the company as a cashier in 1968 at a Target store in Bloomington. She moved to the Edina location in 1973 where she’s worked ever since.

“I’ll miss the public,” Brouillet said. “I’m a people person.” She’s has done everything from sales to samples. She decided to retire on Oct. 28, because it was the same day she started 45 years ago. “If you don’t use it you lose it, so I have kept on using it and have enjoyed every minute of it,” Brouillet said.

The Edina Super Target hosted a party in Brouillet’s honor this past Monday. “She’s set an example for the whole family, and I mean it’s really amazing,” said Richard Brouillet, Jeanne’s son. “You’ve got to enjoy what you’re doing and put your heart into it,” Jeanne Brouillet added.

Now that she's retired, Brouillet plans to spend more time with her family. But she says she’ll continue to do all of her shopping at Target.

Monday, October 28, 2013

New at Target: Orla Kiely Cosmetic Bags

Orla Kiely fans, here's a reason to cheer! Target's latest collab with the designer (following their 2009 housewares line, the Method bottles, and the recent iPhone and iPad covers) is for a selection of fun & functional cosmetic bags. Three new prints—bright floral, orange stem and graphite—instantly dress up coated canvas cosmetics bags, ranging in price from $9.99 to $24.99 to stylishly stash all your beauty essentials. You can shop the collection here on Target.com, and the bags are also available in stores.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Double-Take: Calvin Klein vs. Merona

It's time for another double-take, where we take one item from Target and pit it against a similar - albeit pricer - designer piece. Today's edition features two classic-cut peacoats, both in deep red. Only one of them is by Calvin Klein (at Lord & Taylor) and will set you back $182 (which is actually the sale price, down from $260!) while the other one is by Merona (at Target) and is just $54.99. Which one is which? The answer appears in the comments section below.

Friday, October 25, 2013

After last year's backlash, Target pushes back holiday campaign

According to AdAge, Target is preparing to kick off its "most digitally enabled campaign in history", but not as early as last year.

A year ago The Bullseye caught flack from consumers for launching its first holiday spot in mid-October. That ad, which focused on its Red Card branded credit card, featured an upbeat tune with the chorus, "Are You Ready?" Unfortunately, consumers were NOT ready to be bombarded with holiday ads that early in the season.

"We learned last year we just went too soon," said Jeff Jones, CMO at Target. "Even though it wasn't an overt commercial about Christmas products, people interpreted it that way."

This season, Mr. Jones said Target won't launch its anthem holiday ad until the first week of November. Early ads will also focus on Thanksgiving, which Target has not in the past. One TV spot shows a group of friends gathering around a turkey dinner, while another will promote the price per pound of turkey.

All of the advertising from Thanksgiving through Christmas will be organized under the theme "My Kind of Holiday," inspired by conversations on Twitter. Ads carry the hashtag, #MyKindOfHoliday. Having a single campaign is a departure for the retailer, which has typically relied on multiple campaigns, one for branding and one for promoting. This year, nearly all of the retailer's ads will be a hybrid, including specific deal and price-point messaging.

You can read the entire AdAge article - plus see a preview of the TV spot - here on AdAge's site.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

My Phillip Lim Satchel Score!

Yesterday I mentioned that you might still be able to find a coveted 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target bag... IF you can find a customer return in store. Well lo and behold, I was lucky enough to find one today!

Now I don't really need a third Lim bag, but at 30% off, I just couldn't resist. And here's a tip: I found mine hanging with the regular-priced handbags of a similar color - not on a clearance rack.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Phillip Lim now on clearance online...

Remember last week when I told you that the 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target line was now on clearance, but only in stores? Well guess what? The sale now extends to Target.com as well. Which means you can pick up this cute sparkle-trim peplum top - perfect for upcoming holiday parties - for just $27.98.

Keep in mind that the leftovers at this point are limited to men's and women's clothing; there's none of the coveted bags in the bunch. If you still have your heart set on a Lim bag, keep your eye out for customer returns in-store.

Coming Soon to Target: Sonia Kashuk Bath + Body

I guess I missed this news when it first broke over the summer, but according to WWDSonia Kashuk is expanding her product line at Target with a new 31-piece range of bath and body products, including four fine fragrances. “The focus, a luxurious affordable lifestyle beauty brand," said Kashuk, who debuted at the retailer 15 years ago with her namesake line of cosmetics, tools and accessories. The new range, created in collaboration with Jérôme Epinette of Robertet, will be packaged in black boxes with hand-illustrated floral patterns, designed by Kashuk and creative agency, Buero New York. 

The collection - which will roll out to all Target stores in the U.S. and Canada - will be priced from $6.99 for a hand crème to $19.99 for an eau de toilette. "Guests love the Sonia Kashuk collection at Target because of its high quality, affordability and on-trend innovation," said Christina Hennington, vice president merchandise manager of beauty & personal Care at Target. "The new bath & body line is a luxurious extension of the Sonia Kashuk brand. We know our guests will be anxious to get their hands on it in November."

According to Sonia Kashuk's blog and a new url she's set up called 'somethingbeautifuliscoming', this new bath & body collection is set to hit stores on Nov. 10th.

Double-Take: Chookah vs. Merona

It's time for another double-take, where we take one item from Target and match it against a similar - albeit pricer - designer piece. Today's edition features two cute rainboots, both with a houndstooth-printed shaft and side buckle-trim. But one of them is by Chookah (at Nordstrom Rack) and costs $69, whereas the other is by Merona (at Target) and only costs half as much at $34.99. Which one is which? The answer appears in the comments section below.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fab Find: Sonia Kashuk Nail Color Set in "Fall in Love"

Although already sold out online, you can still find Sonia Kashuk's mini nail-color set "Fall in Love" in stores (as I just did)  at 30% off (now $7.68, marked down from $10.99). Polish your way to perfection all season long with the dark & lovely shades of pretty plum "Poison", ruby red "Wine and Dine" and silky sapphire "Stormy Waters".

Friday, October 18, 2013

My review of Cartwheel...

Since Target introduced the full version of their Cartwheel shopping app in June, I've been meaning to check it out. I finally had some time to play around with it earlier this week, and my feelings are mixed. I like browsing the "Collections" Lookbooks, which are grouped per category like "Halloween Headquarters" and "Fall Baking". There's also one called "Weekly Ad Double Dip" where you can supposedly get extra savings on top of what's already on sale that particular week.

However, I find the amount of content to be a bit overwhelming when you start to browse "All Categories". For instance, in perusing "Health and Beauty", I had to scroll through pages and pages of offers like 10% off Advil or 5% off Vitamins, only to find no deals on what I really needed (Listerine). Sorry, but when I go to Target for necessities, I want to get in and get out; I don't want to spend a lot of time "browsing for deals" on my smartphone.  Perhaps the point is to take the time before your visit to the store to identify what coupons you want to use and then "save" them in your account.

Cartwheel also connects to your Facebook account (if you allow it to) so you can view what coupons your friends are using. I find this a bit creepy, as I don't really want to know everything my buddies are buying.  And from the looks of this recent log on the TargetStyle Facebook page, Cartwheel is still facing some technical issues, with folks reporting that the barcode won't scan upon checkout.

The bottom line? I'll probably use Cartwheel to check for deals before heading to Target if I'm shopping for something specific in housewares, clothing, electronics, etc. - in other words, anything with a substantial price-point where the savings are significant. Otherwise, I don't find 5-15% off items that are under $5 worth chasing down.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Clearance Alert: Vera for Target

Remember the pretty printed Vera for Target scarves that debuted at Target this past Spring? Well they're now on clearance on Target.com for 30-65% off, depending on the design. At just $6.98 - $13.98, they're perfectly-priced for stocking stuffers or small holiday gifts.

Target tries "reverse showrooming"...

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Target’s electronics departments are a getting a makeover in order to combat "showrooming", where consumers check out products in-store but then shop for a better price online.

The Bullseye recently remodeled the electronic departments in several of its stores with waist-height, bright white tables and displays —  similar in style to Apple stores —  to give shoppers more hands-on experience with the products. And it comes at a time when electronics sellers are seeing a major shift in product mix as the space that used to be devoted to cameras — which are declining in sales — gives way to square footage for cellphones. Putting phones directly in the hands of customers is a reaction to the showrooming trend and competition from online retailers such as Amazon.com, said Chris Christopher, an analyst at IHS Global Insight.

Target is testing the format to give customers a more convenient way to interact with products and services, said spokeswoman Erica Julkowski. “Guests are looking for more interactive ways to make purchasing decisions about the latest technology.” 

The hope is that the test departments will create “reverse showrooming.” That occurs when customers do preliminary research online at CNET or the phone carrier’s site, then go to the retailer to buy. It’s easier to compare features and check reviews online, but bricks-and-mortar stores can put the phone in their hands faster (assuming it’s in stock) and fulfill consumer's instant gratification.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Clearance Alert: Phillip Lim for Target

Just one month since 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target debuted in stores, the collection (what's left of it) is already on clearance in stores at 30% off. I can't recall another Target designer collab that's gone on sale so quickly, can you? Since I haven't worn my floral peplum top yet, I found one on sale in my size, and will return the full-priced one later this week. Other than that, the selection at my store seemed heavy on the sequin-trim dresses (in both black and blue), the trench coats and the white ruffle-front tops.

To note: this clearance is limited to stores only. On Target.com, everything is still at full price. Also: I only saw the clothing on sale at my local store, with no accessories (bags and scarves) in sight.

Double-Take: Mossimo vs. Ash

It's time for another double-take, where we take one item from Target and match it against a similar - yet pricer - piece. Today's edition features two trendy black-suede fringe booties, first spied by The Budget Babe in another color. But one of them is by Ash (available on AmazonUK.com) for £165.00 (or around $260 in US dollars) whereas the other is by Mossimo (at Target) and clocks in at a much more wallet-friendly $29.99. Which one is which? The answer appears in the comments section below.

Macy's joins Target in opening early for Black Friday...

Macy's is joining the Black Friday fray with their announcement that they will open on Thanksgiving for the first time in their 155 year history. As you may recall, Target started opening at midnight on Thanksgiving back in 2011. But Macy's is one-upping The Bullseye in two ways: first, Macy's will open earlier than Target - at 8pm at most store locations. Secondly, Macy's is already previewing some of their Black Friday deals on their Pinterest Page (whereas Target typically doesn't release their Black Friday specials until the week before Thanksgiving).

I personally find this sad. I don't shop on Thanksgiving, and I don't plan on starting to. What about you, readers? Are you happy that more stores are opening on Turkey Day?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Target out of Tums? Try Trojans instead.

Consumerist has covered Target’s past product substitutions – from telling customers that a flash drive is comparable to a flash bulb, or to just buy a mirror instead of that scale you were looking for. But this one takes the cake: Reader LB alerted me that Target is now suggesting you buy some Trojan condoms when your favorite cherry flavor of Tums is out of stock.

Why does Target do this? Well the intent is to offer customers a comparable item at the same price when something unexpectedly sells out. A Target employee once gave Consumerist this explanation: “A substitution isn’t a real substitution; it’s Target’s way of saying “we have no more of this, and we have a rain check for you, but we’re going to immediately put something else on sale that you might also enjoy.’ Stores actually get graded on how many substitutions are attached to rain checks. The more substitutions, the higher the score, and the higher the score ranks in their region.”

But obviously, not all Target Team Members take the substitution process seriously, which is why this particular one may be a case of a Target employee messing with us. As shown in this thread on Reddit (where the photo first surfaced) several Target Team Members comment that they purposely sub “the first thing I see out of laziness” or deliberately “pick the weirdest sub I can.”

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Halloween inspiration...

Remember the Chris March for Target "Big Fun" wigs I told you about last month? Well if you're looking for some inspiration on how to incorporate them into your Halloween costume, then head on over to Chris March's Facebook page for great pictures (like this one) of Chris and his friends rocking the wigs. You can also check out this WSJ article with more pictures from Target's recent launch party for the "Big Fun" line, held in an elaborately decorated haunted house.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Double-Take: Worlds Away vs. Threshold

It's time for another double-take, where we take one item from Target and match it against a similar - yet pricer - designer piece. Today we're looking at two sleek beveled-mirror side tables, both with a functional drawer. At first glance, they're almost identical... except one is by Worlds Away (at Zinc Door) and will set you back over $800, whereas the other is by Threshold (at Target) and only costs $89.99. Which one is which? The answer appears in the comments section below.