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Marketing magic

Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, December 3, 2001

And the winners are — Wal-Mart and Target.

What they won is the merchandising award for being with it in terms of the year's biggest money-making movie tie-in at retail.

The first of today's topics is "Harry Potter" and how the home textiles world did or did not sign on to this cash cow event.

Looking over the dozens of circulars, inserts and ROP ads over the Thanksgiving weekend there was a major void in most retailers' offerings — no Harry Potter stuff.

Both Wal-Mart and Target massed their Harry stuff together, whether it was collectibles, sheet sets, the actual books and videos, etc., into a statement that made people stop, look — and probably buy.

Neither retailer was taking the chance that customers wouldn't understand that they were the place to shop for the stuff that everyone would want before and after they saw the movie.

Those who lost the marketing race were those who lumped Harry into a kids sheet promo or a toys promo along with a lot of other licensed product.

You'd think that with a gift in hand like this most smart retailers would have been front and center announcing all the Harry stuff they were offering.

The second of today's topics — and one that is 180 degrees opposite from the above subject — is the state of the luxury home textiles business, a segment that many are quick to put R.I.P. signs on. But not too fast folks.

We're talking true luxury home textiles here — the high three- and four-figure sets of sheets and the like.

Anyone who did a quick read of last week's story in HTT on retail reaction to Sferra's Millesimo sheets should go back and read it again.

While the market will not support the concept of a set of sheets at more than $3,000 for everyone, there's something to be learned from the product development and marketing that Sferra has undertaken and that their retail accounts have signed on to.

It's a lesson that should be studied by all of those who claim to be in the "luxury" home textiles business but really are in the upper moderate segment. There is a way to get out of the morass of coupons, lower-than-low prices and all the other approaches that are today's home textiles "marketing" tactics.

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