Target and Michael Graves to End 13-Yr. Partnership

The retailer and designer have collaborated to bring more than 2,000 exclusive products to Target stores since 1999; the final installment of such products will debut at stores in March and be available until the end of the year.

A 13-year partnership between Target Corporation and designer Michael Graves will end later this year following one more installment of Graves' products that will hit stores next month. The Michael Graves Design Collection for Target debuted in January 1999-and it helped Target earn its reputation for “cheap chic.” Since then, the retailer has partnered with dozens of other well-known designers to create exclusive merchandise at affordable prices.

Target and Graves collaborated on more than 2,000 kitchen gadgets, cleaning tools, and storage solutions. The last installment will debut at stores and online in March, and products will be available through December 31 or until supplies last.

“Michael Graves was Target's first and longest-standing design partner to date. Together we created an iconic product collection that expertly blended design with function,” Stacia Andersen, Target's senior vice president of home goods merchandising, said in a statement. “While this partnership is coming to end, Target remains dedicated to bringing our guests innovative design in new and meaningful ways.”

Other designers with whom Target has partnered to offer exclusive products include Jean Paul Gaultier, Sonia Kashuk, Josie Natori, Zac Posen, and Jason Wu. Last year, Target's highly anticipated exclusive line from high-fashion brand Missoni quickly sold out of stores and prompted its website to crash.

In addition to working with designers, Target is also forging innovative partnerships with select niche retailers.

Last month, the company announced plans to open small boutiques within its stores under a concept called “The Shops at Target.” The boutiques will offer affordable, limited-edition merchandise made exclusively for Target. Products from an initial group of five boutiques will debut in Target stores and online May 6-and each set of shops will be open for six weeks.

Target also confirmed last month that it will test mini-Apple stores within 25 Target stores later this year but provided no further details.

Target serves customers at 1,763 stores and on its website-and it will expand into Canada next year. It is Minnesota's second-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $67.4 billion in the fiscal year that ended in January 2011. Sales results for the fiscal year that ended last month will be announced on February 23.