Target Apologizes for “Manatee” Dress for Plus-Size Women

The retailer said that calling the same style of dress in the exact same color “manatee gray” for the plus-size version and “dark heather gray” for standard sizes was an “unintentional oversight” that it’s working to fix.

Target Corporation issued an apology after using an unflattering descriptor to note the color of a plus-size dress available for purchase on its website—an oversight that blew up on Twitter.
Target shopper and self-described “digital maven” Susan Clemens was apparently shopping on the Minneapolis-based retailer’s website on Tuesday when she noticed that the same style of dress in the exact same color was labeled differently depending on the size. The color was called “manatee grey” for the plus-sized version and “dark heather gray” for standard sizes.
Clemens tweeted her finding, which had generated 161 retweets as of mid-day Thursday.
On Wednesday afternoon, in response to Clemens’ Tuesday tweet, Target told her via Twitter that the company had passed along her comments to the appropriate team and would review them.
Later Wednesday, Target then tweeted: “We apologize for this unintentional oversight & never intend to offend our guests. We’ve heard you, and we’re working to fix it ASAP.”
Target spokesman Joshua Thomas told Forbes that “manatee gray” is a color found on many products across a range of categories on the retailer’s website—including some in women’s regular sizes and others in petite sizes.
In the case of the dresses that Clemens found, Thomas said there were two different teams of buyers responsible for the “missy” and plus-size product lines, and the teams didn’t coordinate when they inputted the product information for the site.
“We apologize for any discomfort this might have caused and are working to update the name of the dress to reflect Dark Heather Gray,” Thomas told Forbes. “This was an unfortunate oversight and we’ll take it into consideration moving forward.”
Target is Minnesota’s second-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $71.9 billion for the fiscal year that ended February 2—up 5 percent from the prior year. It operates 1,784 stores across the United States and opened its first 24 Canada stores last month.