LNT sees $2B opportunity in home

Boston — Linens 'N Things senior vp and cfo William Giles last week put a number to the home furnishings market share the company believes has been shaken free by the bankruptcies, liquidations and store closings of fellow retailers this year: $2 billion.

The lone home furnishings specialty retailer addressing the Prudential Securities Back-To-School conference, Giles noted that the departure of HomePlace alone put up for grabs a potential $600 million in home furnishings sales.

"Between ourselves and the other top specialty retailer [Bed Bath & Beyond], we have about 6 percent market share. The point here is that this is an industry that remains very under-penetrated by specialty retail. We can triple our size — and not at the expense of the other guy," he said.

Although he did not state so directly, Giles indicated that in an environment where consumer spending has tightened, gaining share of wallets has become increasingly important. He also noted that department stores — and JCPenney and Sears in particular — continue to experience a decline in home furnishings market share, "while our share continues to increase."

New business, he said, "is an important part of our growth strategy." In the home textiles area, he referenced the Nautica bedding program, which will complete its rollout in the fourth quarter; the proprietary quilt program developed in conjunction with both domestic and overseas vendors; and the new LNT Home proprietary branded towel program. Now rolling out, it has two components: better-quality Supima cotton towels — "We believe the best towel in the market" — and a value-oriented cotton towel program aggressively priced at $4.99.

Giles noted that while the company remains committed to fashion bedding, disarray in the home textiles industry doesn't make strengthening the category any easier.

And for the back half of the year, textiles will move further out of the LNT spotlight as the hard home categories take center stage during the holiday decorating and gift-giving season. The retailer will become the exclusive superstore retailer for Yankee Candle Co. products, Giles said. LNT also will expand its assortment of specialty food for holiday and sees long-term potential in its recent test of small furniture.

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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