Nicole Miller signs with Bed Bath, won't go beyond

When it comes to home, Nicole Miller has decided she's a one-store kind of gal. Miller's line of bedding and bath, which began arriving at retail a little under one year ago, is now exclusive to Bed Bath & Beyond.

"We like the (exclusivity) idea. Rather than running in all kinds of directions, there's one focus and everybody concentrates on the business at hand — us making great product and them making it great at the store," said Bud Konheim, Nicole Miller CEO. "Why have a million girlfriends when you can have one great wife."

In fact, Bed Bath & Beyond is preparing to give Miller's fledgling home line the Nautica treatment — and then some. Over the course of 2004, Nicole Miller Home will explode out into 18 broad product categories under a series of licensing agreements with eight vendors.

In addition to the bedding and bath already in the stores, Nicole Miller announced the line will expand into kitchen/table linens, organization, personal care items, ceramics, glassware, tabletop coordinates, resin giftware, "miscellaneous" items such as memo boards, metal goods such as ornament boxes, paper products, candles, framed art/wall décor, floral arrangements and decorative accessories.

Bedding and bath licensee Revman International is supplying the bulk of soft home as well as storage/organization items and personal care products. Additional licensees include Ambiance, Wingeroff, Boston International, Pacific Trade, Michael Alan Design, Cord Crafts and International Silver.

To ensure consistency across departments, Nicole Miller has named Christine Bell director of licensing. All licensees are existing Bed Bath & Beyond vendors that already have a solid track record with the retailer, Konheim said.

"We really have to copy the model set down by Revman," Konheim said. "You can't just take dress patterns and turn them into something else. This is about a feminine, light-hearted, sensuous approach to design."

Bed Bath & Beyond initiated the deal after evaluating a few months' worth of sales, Konheim said. "They saw it selling in Wichita, selling in Iowa. It's proof of the country's ability to respond to good design," he said.

Bed Bath & Beyond has already pushed Miller into the showcase windows of its two Manhattan stores. Inside the box, Miller merchandise is displayed within the bed and bath categories, some of it carrying "Exclusively Ours" signage.

In the retailer's Sixth Avenue store, bedding is merchandised in an alcove along the racetrack. Two dressed beds front the display, which is backed by a 16-foot wall carrying seven patterns and a television running a loop of a Nicole Miller fashion show.

Sizes are king and queen only. Sheet sets retail from $99.99 to $124.99 queen and from $129.99 to $149.99 king. Tiering breaks out into 230 sateens for good, 200-T and 250-T cotton for better and 230 sateen for best.

Comforter ensembles are priced at $339.99 queen and $389.99 king. All-cotton duvet covers retail at $179.99 queen and $199.99 king.

In the bath accessories area, Nicole Miller occupies about 8 feet of on-the-wall display space. Wastebaskets retail at $29.99 and $49.99. Tissue covers sells for $19.99 and $34.99. Soap dishes, toothbrush holders and tumblers each range from $7.99 to $14.99. Lotion pumps start at $9.99 and go to $16.99.

In addition, the accessories section displays five shower curtains, although none are on shelf. Instead, the shelves were stocked late last week with a few Joseph Abboud Environments solid-color curtains that coordinated with the accessories. The store's shower curtain department carried three shower curtains — none of which were displayed in accessories. Two were priced at $49.99 and one at $39.99.

Also displayed within the bath accessories section were two types of towels — a jacquard in three colorways and a plain terry with a wide-fashion dobby, although the store displayed no pricing information on either. The towel department itself carries a third design, another jac in four colorways, priced at $16.99 bath, $12.99 hand and $7.99 wash.

Additional product categories will begin rolling into stores early in the second half, Konheim said, although the full iteration of the license at Bed Bath & Beyond won't flesh out until late 2004/early 2005.

Home & Textiles Today Staff | News & Commentary

 Home Textiles Today is the market-leading brand covering the home and textiles markets, offering a comprehensive package of print and online products. Home & Textiles Today provides industry news, product trends and introductions, exclusive industry research, consumer data, store operations solutions, trade show news and much more.

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