It's hardly Christmas in July — not with record heat over most of the United States. But nevertheless Target is trying to spread the deep-discount feel of some of its winter-holiday events into the dog days of summer, which are now. In the process, Target also appears to be making a direct run at JCPenney (which just announced it has hired Project Runway judge Nina Garcia, who has been moonlighting as a "Target fashion expert" in addition to her day job at Marie Claire magazine).
The Minneapolis-based Target is expanding its popular summer-exclusive "Bonus Black Friday" sale to two full days, this Friday and Saturday, with the discounts and the positioning meant to be reminiscent, of course, of the biggest day on the calendar of American retailers, the day after Thanksgiving. It's one way to attempt to generate some store traffic during the traditional lull before the back-to-school storm, which pours down in August.\
Target also plans to hold its first-ever "Summer Cyber Week" sale next week featuring daily deals on Target.com for electronics, apparel, baby gear and other merchandise. That moniker, of course, is reminiscent of Cyber Monday, which is also known as the first Monday after Black Friday.
"Over the past two years our Black Friday in July sales have been a big hit with our savvy guests who appreciate bargains," said Casey Carl, president of multichannel at Target, in a press release. "This year, we've added something special" with the extra day of Black Friday-like deals as well as Summer Cyber Week.
Probably not coincidentally, one of Target's chief rivals, JCPenney, lately has been re-rembracing the idea of running sales on Fridays, the typical payday for many Americans.
JCPenney recently re-instituted a number of "Best Price Fridays" after it had turned away from such standard promotional gambits under new CEO Ron Johnson, in favor of an everyday-low-pricing strategy. Given the strong consumer resistance to Penney's new business model and the lack of traditional promotions, Penney even has deigned to use the word "sale" again, even though for a while under the new CEO it was verboten.
Unlike Penney, Target hasn't been trying to get consumers to re-think how they shop. They're just trying to get a bigger share of what they spend when they do.