Has Target missed the bullseye again?

The retailer is making headlines after it decided not to renew a supplier’s contract.

Martha Pietruszewski

Shopping for back-to-school clothes was (and still is) always one of my favorite parts about the end of summer. The weather may change, but I can look good while it’s happening. 
 
Before I discovered J. Crew, my family and I would always go to Target to shop amid brands such as Mossimo and Cherokee. 
 
However, in 2017, Cherokee will no longer exist in Target stores despite having been there for almost 20 years. Target has chosen not to renew its contract.
 
I think Target made the right economic decision. Nevertheless, even though it’s a good move for stores, I think eliminating Cherokee could damage Target’s brand image.
 
When Cherokee’s contract ends in January 2017, it will be losing the relationship that earned 43 percent of its total sales last year. Cherokee also helped earn about $1 billion of Target’s approximately $73 billion in annual sales.
 
Because of this, Target may have to worry about damage control on its reputation yet again. After all, letting go of a large supplier causes some people to raise their
eyebrows, and it may leave other clothing suppliers to wonder what’s next for them.
 
Still, even though Target’s decision to let go of a large supplier may hurt some feelings, it will be the right move in the end. 
 
Target is still recovering from the disaster that was Target Canada. Wasting precious resources on something that ultimately failed was tough for the company. By eliminating the Cherokee brand, Target may free up some resources to dedicate toward strengthening its clothing department or allocating other resources to developing a more robust grocery section.
 
Target also had many layoffs in the past year. The company may simply not have the man power to keep a massive brand running like Cherokee in-store. And that’s OK to admit!
 
By realizing that the company’s capacity may have stretched a little because of Canada and all the layoffs, Target is making the first step in becoming a more streamlined company. Dropping Cherokee allows Target to focus on more popular clothing lines, such as its designer collaborations.
 
Streamlining allows for fewer layers of decision-making within a department, meaning there won’t be such a long delay when making even the smallest of decisions. This is a good thing — after all, in business, time is money.
 
Once Target becomes streamlined, it will also allow the company to focus on the core competencies, such as customer service and low prices, which it may have forgotten during the struggles of the past few years. This is key for the company’s resurgence as a prominent retail competitor.
 
Although Cherokee will find the upcoming transition challenging, Target has severed ties for the right reasons — and even though school has started, it’s definitely not too late to get some shopping done.