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Sears Offers Solutions

Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, May 3, 2006

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears is launching a three-part home-fashions program based on lifestyles that are designed to be “solution based” merchandise for their customers.

The program tops out with Everyday Luxe, a top-of-the-line bed and bath collection that also includes window coverings and rugs as well as decorative accessories that are planned for a later launch, said Janet Taake, vp, general merchandise manager, home fashions.

Everyday Luxe is the traditional style statement at the company’s ”best” price level, in the trio that also includes Grace Designs, a lifestyle targeted to the transitional customer and pegged to the better price point, and Ty Style, an expanded offering of merchandise created by Ty Pennington in the contemporary mode, also in the better price range. The three lifestyles will work across all home lines including the new RTA furniture that hits stores in May.

Everyday Luxe has been developed with Keeco and Peking Handicraft, while Grace has been developed with Springs, WestPoint Home and Peking.

But Sears is not abandoning two of its long ime workhorses — Whole Home which continues as the more traditional statement in a “better” price point “with a great and loyal audience,” and Colormate which continues as the “good” price point, Taake explained. Colormate, mostly a solid color program, “is a basic in textiles and it has been freshened.” Whole Home now offers 350-count and 400-count sheets.

Everyday Luxe, Sears interpretation of the popular hotel look collections at retail “is trend right, and we’re very happy with the performance to date,” said Taake.

Everyday Luxe features 500- count sheets and 400-count top of the bed constructions. It is pegged for marketing at the top tier of 541 stores, she said.  

In a conversation with Home Textiles Today, Taake explained, “We are in the process of re-assorting the floor [in home textiles] as part of our brand strategy. The floors are being set as lifestyles, with each one having its own brand strategy.” A key piece of each brand is the offering of solutions to living and decorating, she added.

Everyday Luxe features 500 count sheets with queen sets at $99.99, with full/queen duvets at $149.99 and comforter sets at $229.99 queen. Grace Designs queen sets are $179.99 and Whole Home sets are $199.99.

Acknowledging that this is the third major redo of the home textiles division at Sears in less than five years (she has been in place only since April 2005), Taake said, “The difference is that we are now solution based across all home lines — and it wasn’t that way before.”

At this point in the redo, Taake said, “Our business in is a transitional period; we’re on expectation for the transition.”

Another important change: “We have new standards; we weren’t consistent with specs. Now the quality has improved and we have great value.” As an example, she pointed to Grace Designs which sports sheets in 300 count and 18-inch-deep bottom sheet pockets.

Towels also are included in the new program with $2.99 as the opening price point for bath, with Colormate at $3.99, Grace Designs at $7.99 and Everyday Luxe at $9.99; regular prices are $14.99 for Everyday Luxe, $9.99 for Ty Style and Whole Home, $7.99 for Grace Designs and Colormate.

Rugs play a triple role — as coordinates with towels, in an area rug program, and in outdoor styles.

The company’s window coverings approach has been revamped “and updated. We were very traditional.”

Marketing will be via preprints which kicked off with Everyday Luxe in March and will be structured by brands in the fall. Rugs will hit the stores in May and will be featured with towels in one segment, as area rugs and as outdoor rugs.

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