Why is Target investing in a mattress direct seller?
Target has made a $75 million minority investment in Casper Sleep, the leader in the direct “bed in a box” mattress market. The investment, first reported by Recode, comes after Target reportedly offered $1 billion to acquire the upstart.
Known for its foam mattresses folded into ultra-compact packages for shipping, Casper was valued at $550 million in its last private equity funding in 2015 and is said to be eyeing an IPO. Competitors such as Leesa, Tuft & Needle and Purple are expanding, but haven’t received significant funding. More traditional mattress companies are expected to enter the category in the coming year.
On May 16, Target revealed a partnership that lets its customers buy beds and accessories from Casper. That rollout begins on June 18.
“Target invested in Casper because we believe in their team, their ideas and their vision for reimagining sleep,” Target said last week in a statement released to the media. “The strategic partnership offers Casper access to an established retail brand and gives Target an opportunity to work with a future-focused digital brand that is exploring an area that is meaningful for our guests — sleep and wellness. We’re looking forward to exploring the future together.”
In other steps to expand its digital prowess and reach younger consumers, Target has partnered with Bevel and Harry’s to offer both men’s grooming startups an exclusive retail presence in their stores. A partnership with fashion style blog WhoWhatWear.com led to an exclusive collection of women’s apparel and accessories based on reader feedback, most-read posts and other social media engagement. Plans call for the launch of more than a dozen of its own brands over the next two years with a particular focus on home and kids.
The Casper move comes while rival Walmart has snapped up three smaller online boutiques, ModCloth, ShoeBuy and Moosejaw, following last year’s blockbuster purchase of Jet.com.
- Target is investing $75 million in mattress startup Casper – Recode
- Target reels in another popular online brand: Casper mattresses – Minneapolis Star Tribune
- You’re Not Dreaming: Casper is Coming to Target – Target Corporation
- Target Is Said to Invest $75 Million in Bedding Startup Casper – Bloomberg
- Target looks to mattress startup Casper to help it regain lost digital ground – Mashable
- Target’s Learning How to Survive in the Age of Amazon – Motley Fool
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think Target is looking to gain from investments in brands such as Bevel, Casper and Harry’s? Do you think Target’s investment strategy is positioning the retailer to differentiate from and compete with Amazon.com, Walmart and other rivals?