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Kids R Us tests waters in juvenile bedding, bath

TOTOWA, NJ — The new prototype Kids R Us store here, with its flashy, techie storefront and hip revolving fixtures inside, looks to dress not only children, but their rooms as well, as it toys with such new categories as juvenile bedding and bath.

The location here, squeezed between a Toys R Us and a Linens 'N Things, is one of several locations nationwide, including one in Freehold, NJ, that is experimenting with domestics. In this store, the section sits prominently less than halfway down the drive aisle, off the oblong racetrack, a renovated layout for the retailer.

In its 2000 annual report, parent company Toys R Us announced its intentions to open prototype stores that extend beyond the traditional apparel that Kids R Us carries. A Lifestyle Shop concept, offering such non-apparel merchandise as home decor, fashion accessories, bath and body products in a space of 2,000 square feet, was hoped to open in 100 stores this year.

The domestics in this store were divided like the apparel — girls stuff on the left, boys on the right — obviously, to prevent cooties. Each area had one main cube standalone display to highlight two bedding patterns and coordinates, as well as taller displays and open metal fixtures standing nearby to show other hard and soft home decor items. Between the two sections sat a lower floor fixture with another bedding pattern. Several of the bedding patterns had a multitude of coordinates.

The domestics product of bedding, decorative pillows, bath accessories and rugs was overwhelming from CHF Industries, with Dan River supplying a boys bedding pattern and 1888 Mills embroidered bath towels. Some of the hard goods, like a doll house-sized chest of drawers, was licensed by CHF. The cube display highlighted two patterns, each with a small dressed bed with coordinates and stocked shelves on the left.

One of the boys patterns was of cars, planes and such on a blue ground from CHF (twin sheet set, $29.99, pillow or sham, $19.99 and 70 by 14 valence $19.99; shaped car rug, $24.99, decorative pillow $12.99), displayed on one side of the cube. A sports pattern from Dan River (180 count cotton/polyester twin sheet set $29.99; twin reversible comforter, $39.99; sham, $19.99, twin bed skirt $24.99), was placed on the opposite side.

The two girls' patterns were one of stars and moons, and one of flowers. A twin sheet set ran for $29.99 and a Reflections full size set was $39.99. The many coordinating accessories included a circular rug with flowers, $19.99, a Princess cat head shaped pillow at $9.99 and a bed rest.

On the low display case, with its shelves facing the girls' area, CHF had another Reflections comforter pattern, which was of a casual floral purple design (twin, $39.99).

Metal displays in both the girls' and boys' sections held the bath coordinates to one of the bedding patterns each. Products included 1888 Mills' white towels with embroidery ($12.99 for bath, $9.99 for wash cloth), and, from CHF, plastic lotion pumps, tumblers and toothbrush holders ($6.99 each), fabric shower curtains ($14.99) and shower hooks ($12.99). Other items such as bath appliques and color tablets for bath water were merchandised there as well.

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