Making a positive impression

Carole Sloan, March 19, 2001

Behind the huge curtain of gloom and doom that prevails not just in home textiles but across the landscape of retailing and consumer goods suppliers, there's a whole lot of interesting stuff developing.

It may be coincidence, but something is happening in retail advertising that may break the hold of the dreadful reliance on coupon merchandising.

It's almost redundant to discuss further the happenings at Target and the awesome marketing program that John Pellegrine spearheads.

So moving along.Last year a youngish woman was named head of New York-based Lord & Taylor-once a force in home furnishings, now just a token player in the gifty arena.

Well, this new leader set out to change the image and mood of the store with an advertising campaign that already has begun to influence the two major New York powerhouses, siblings Macy's East and Bloomingdale's.

Think of a full page in color in the Sunday New York Times featuring a garden full of flowers. Only these flowers were pins. Think of a colorful array of sunglasses. Think of a single male figure on a page, or three adorable kids, or a single female figure-all in color-showing off the fashion statement of the season. Or perhaps a spread showing seven female figures in "check please"-a full fashion statement for the women's business.

The reaction from the competition has been a sea change in how they present fashion statements, but not anywhere near the freshness of L & T's new approach.

Then we have the new Martha Stewart Everyday Garden magazine, a first for mainstream customers, sent directly to some four million of Martha's best customers at Kmart. It's a magazine that can hold its own visually with most anything on the newsstands.

Then there is the new approach to catalog merchandising at Crate & Barrel, moving the casual contemporary home furnishings leader again a step ahead of the competition.

Then there are the ever-proliferating programs that some retailers are using to differentiate, including Martha at Kmart, Christopher Lowell at Luxury Linens, Alexander Julian at Lowes, Waverly joining the design lineup at Target, and the ground-breaking liasion with Cotton Inc. and Federated's Charter Club private brand.

There's a lot happening, and it's not all gloom and doom.

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HTT Cover October 2017

See the October 2017 issue of Home & Textiles Today. In this issue, we look at the Top 25 Online Retailers.  H&TT's exclusive annual ranking of the biggest online sellers of home textiles finds that while pure play etailers continue to fly, bricks & clicks are digging into omnichannel. See details!