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Linens making room for Liz

Andrea Lillo -- Home Textiles Today, February 17, 2003

Liz Claiborne will be the latest brand to join Linens 'n Things.

The retailer will be included in the launch of the expanded and redone Liz Claiborne collection, Norman Axelrod, LNT chairman and ceo, said during the company's fourth quarter conference call.

The program is scheduled for release in the third quarter. Several other new brands on the decorative side, he said, will also be announced within several weeks.

Axelrod also detailed the continuing benefits the company receives from the merchandising and operations initiatives it has been implementing over the last year, noting, "we've yet to feel the full impact on our organization," said Axelrod.

For example, LNT's localized inventory store ownership program will "continue to drive store productivity."

Currently in 70 of the chain's 391 stores, the program gives store managers more sku responsibility for the best and worst sellers. It will be added to 25 to 30 additional stores in each of the second and third quarters. The company found that stores with the program for more than six months trend 5 percent higher in comparable sales.

The Linens 'n Things private label program also grew considerably last year, nearing 15 percent of sales for 2002, which Axelrod believes can increase to almost 20 percent this year.

"We added considerably more resources in both sourcing and logistics," he said.

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