Target Is Going After Costco with New Line of Home Essentials

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Sean Wandzilak)

Next week Target will roll out their newest house brand, Smartly, featuring 70 home essentials and toiletries, most for just $1 or $2. That includes plenty of kitchen products such as paper towels, dish soap, plastic sandwich bags, napkins, and paper lunch bags.

The brand aims to compete with dollar stores, Costco, Aldi, and Walmart in terms of pricing, but also to appeal to younger folks with limited budgets and limited space. Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer for Target, Mark Tritton, calls it “Another example of how we are listening to consumers and bringing them differentiated solutions to make their lives easier.” But at its root, it’s adorable branding and affordable pricing.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Target)

It sounds a bit like the name of a new start-up — and that’s part of the point. The packaging is super simple, with just two or three colors; big, bold graphics; and clear, clean copy that hints at the brand’s plea for millennials’ dollars, like plastic baggies that say “do lunch” and soap that “smells like, well, nothing.”

The paper towels (“cleans up your messes”) cost 59 cents and come with 100 half-sheets, available only in single rolls — strong evidence of who the brand hopes to appeal to: young folks with limited space, either in a first apartment or dorm room.

Still, cheap is cheap, and when it’s also cute and sassy, the appeal is universal and across generations, so parents will like the lunch bags (“brown bag it”) and surely even the olds can get behind the hand soap that “smells like the ocean,” especially at these prices.

The products cost between $0.59 and $11.99, and are priced about 70 percent less than the comparable major brand, and will go on sale at Target stores and on the Target website on October 14, 2018.