Target Misses The Bulls-eye For Nate Berkus Store Set

Last week, I had posted "New From Nate Berkus.I, along with many others, have been waiting to see more about Nate since his show was dropped in May this past Spring. When I had seen he would be launching a new book plus a new product line available at Target, I got excited and was looking forward to it. As the launch date for Fall got closer, I started keeping up more with Nate's new line coming into Target. Everywhere I looked, the date and the product info was consistent: In Stores and On Line for Target October 21. I saw this repeatedly on Facebook posts, tweets (#NateAtTarget), Pinterest, shelter magazines, Curbed, CasaSugar, The New York Times, Parade, Good Morning America and ---the list goes on. My local newspaper (The Arizona Republic) had also written an article about Nate's book and commented on his line set to debut at Target stores on October 21.  However, when I went to my local Target store at 6pm on Sunday evening of October 21, no merchandise was set, no signs were up, and the 4 associates I engaged with had no clue of what I was talking about. It wasn't until I said, "Nate Berkus was the interior designer for Oprah", that one person said, "Oh, I know who you're talking about."

Come again?? HOW is it that a huge retail chain doesn't educate their associates on product knowledge? Don't the stores have meetings to communicate what products are new, launching, and where they will be located in the store? If they don't, how is an associate suppose to intelligently give guidance and customer service to their "Guests?? I worked in retail long enough to know the drill - this product line was NOT planned over-nite - It took the corporate "Gods" (the ones making the bucks) to cross their T's and dot their I's (to save their asses) when it comes to ensuring a big name brand made the right choice in setting their product in their stores.

For at least the past nine months, corporate had to have had a team working on the Nate at Target project. And they did a wonderful job flashing the hype across social media channels since Target announced in May Nate's product arrival in stores for October 21. But there was a tremendous break down when it came to the store execution. It's not winter, so I know no blizzards held back the timeliness of the deliveries. The stores HAD TO have had a "target" date for when the shipments should have arrived - even if only arriving last week. Target also must have shipped the cartons with a bright colored label, to help stock personnel differentiated this product for store stock, plus they must have also had a staging are to house the assortment prior to the floor set. And because it's so imperative to have the advertised product on hand, I know Target wouldn't be merchandising it on there floor until the morning of the launch, or set it the night before.

What has me baffled is I find it hard to believe, no store managers, no district or regional personnel contacted the stores to ensure they had received the merchandise? It doesn't take a phone call or a store visit to ensure these days: The simple solution to this lack of follow-thru is: Take a picture of the set, and even before that point - communicate what is missing so there is reaction time. Back it up a step further: Have a checklist and communicate to associates new products and their location for set in the store.

Comment on Facebook from Frisco, Texas:
(and yes - it was in all caps, so this person was also quite peeved too!)

Comment on Facebook from Wisconsin: 
Cher Falkner: "My local Target only had one end cap that they were just putting out this afternoon. Department manager said there was a distribution problem and product is coming in late."

Comment on Facebook from Pennsylvania:
(and TOTALLY agree! Nate DESERVES better!)
Thom Mullins: "Really disappointed with Target's rollout of the Nate Berkus line. Three stores I visited in eastern Pennsylvania and they only had a few sets of sheets, and a shower curtain. When. I asked at one store, they said they haven't put it out yet. At another store they said it was hung up in customs and the third just had blank stares. No signage, no big splash. Nate deserves better."

Another Facebook comment from California:
Kimberly Angst: "I went to three Targets yesterday and not one had your line . I emailed Target and asked for call from the District Manager in Monterrey CA."

 My ONE response from Target, this morning on Twitter
(after commenting on Facebook & Twitter last night and this morning)
 "Sorry the store team members didn’t know about our Nate Berkus Collection. Order online at: . - Julie" -- I responded But that isn't the point to go "shop on line" when it was advertised to be available IN STORES - and nothing at all was.

Someone in merchandise execution & communications at Target corporate headquarters needs to be held accountable for this HUGE miss of the bulls eye at Target. It wasn't only my Target (in the 85295 area of Phoenix), but on Facebook and Twitter,  a few others had shared their disappointment of no Nate merchandise in their local Target stores either. I didn't expect the entire line - but I did "expect more" of the associates product knowledge and a taste of the product to see. Ironically, Nate's book is called "The Things That Matter", but apparently at Target, none of those things are: follow-thru, execution, timeliness or standing by what they advertise. What does come across as mattering at Target is name dropping: from Michael Graves to Liberty of London to Missoni to Patch NYC, and now to Nate Berkus. It seems as if Target already passed up the hype of Nate's line, and is off to hype-up Holiday with Neiman's and the launch of Taylor Swift's CD: Red... which is, if I were Nate, what I'd be seeing right now. Nate deserves better - maybe Nate should consider shifting his product from Target line to JCPenney.

From Nate interview at the New York Times - about product at Target:
"The line will have a long life. I’ll be able to constantly refresh it. I don’t want to totally overhaul every season. The whole is focused on accessories and objects. I see every horizontal surface as an opportunity. A lot is drawn from pieces in my home that I’ve been collecting over the last 25 years."

This wasn't the post I intended to be writing about for Nate's product launch at Target. I very much relate to and enjoy the Nate Berkus style. I also have been a customer (guest) at Target for almost 20 years now, which is why I am so incredibly disappointed. 

From the store (above)
to my home (below)

Last week, on the day of Nate's book launch, I was able to just easily walk in to Barnes & Nobel, ask an associate for the book, and she not only knew what I was talking about, but with a smile on her face, she brought me to the table the book was merchandised on. THAT is merchandise execution and customer service done RIGHT! What about you? Did your local Target have the new Nate line set? Or was Target already sold out when you went in the store? which that too is another issue at Target.

Sorry for the rant - I think they only other time I went off on poor store execution was I post I wrote about a closing Pottery Barn store in Miami (see Shop Tour: Pottery Barn Shocker). I'm sure the Miami Target stores and the stores up in New York or Chicago areas back on the east coast had no issues for launch or set. But even-though I'm (now) located in the Phoenix area of Arizona, it is one of the Top 5 Cities in the US, so why drop the ball here? Hubs texted me and said no Nate at Target in Casa Grande either - They told him, "Maybe tomorrow." What kind of a launch is that?

Thanks for stopping by...
Have a great week!


  1. Now I'm curious if it's out here in San Diego? I'll have to go check out my Target tomorrow.

  2. Funny how you choose today to rant about Target. Today, I took an hour out of my busy schedule to run inside a Target store to check out the quality of a jacket I'd seen online which is advertised as in stores now. I should admit this was a very difficult feat for me given my outlook on Target and their lack of corporate policies to give so generously to American Foundations. I spent half and hour running through racks and pushing plastic hangers aside seeking out this particle piece of clothing. I finally found a sales associate and inquired to where it's coveted place of honor was. Her statement was matter of fact, "I don't know" and she walked off. So in response to your story today and my experience- the deal has been sealed of me never entering a Target store again, no matter how much I love Nate.

  3. I got to my local Target at store-opening at 8am. The store only had TWO of each item, and it was only ONE end-cap of accessories. No bedding, bath, or the like available. I then went to another Target in the Birmingham area, and that store hadn't even set up the displays yet. I helped the ONE sales associate unbox items myself, and they ended up being the same items as the other store, and again, only two of each item. SEVERELY disappointed.

  4. I went to the Target website on Sunday and expected to see Nate's stuff pominately featured on the home page. Not really a good job there either imho.

  5. Didn't go to Target on Sunday, but went on Monday (broken coffee pot) and walked around the store. They had one aisle end display in the 'china/dishes" area that looked pretty picked over, another further back that had odds and end of nifty decorating items (a silvery, glass nautilus shell caught my eye)and then another display or two in the household linen department. Might have been other displays elsewhere. He was spread pretty thin throughout the store. Not very much merchandise all together, but it was there. I have to admit we have a nice Target here in Huntsville, AL and some of the people who work there are pretty great - friends of my kids or people seem to know their store. I would have been disappointed too if I had made a special trip for nothing. Wonder if they were less enthusiastic about the line since the TV show was cancelled...

  6. Wow, that's a big FAIL. If the line was held up, why did they continue to announce it? Hopefully they can get things straightened out and give Nate's line the prominence it deserves.

  7. You tell'em, Jersey girl! La Dolce Vita blog also had a similar post excoriating Target for their ridiculousness.

    I am always seeing things on blogs reputedly from Target, but I have never seen a single one of those things at our stores. There is another store under construction in a very fancy part of town (surprisingly, since they have never allowed a "big box" or "discounter" in that area), and if they keep up this kind of nonsense, they will fail before they ever have a chance to count their shekels.

  8. Big fail...I read about it in as many places as you did and couldn't wait. Went to Target on Sunday and there was an end cap, Nate on an END CAP...REALLY!!!! Half the products were missing, so disappointing!



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