• Andrea Lillo

Stein Mart tabs Waites to boost home area

Stein Mart has announced that designer Raymond Waites will create an entire collection of bedding, lamps, ceramics, wall art, bath linens and other accessories for its home department.

"After several terrific years, our home area has struggled some during the first half of this year, and we believe this addition will be important as we head into the holiday season," said Gwen Manto, vice chairman and chief merchandising officer, during the company's second quarter conference call.

In addition, Stein Mart is preparing for a new ad campaign, including newspaper inserts, direct mail, radio and, starting with six test markets next month, television advertising. Beginning over the next few weeks, the markets of Atlanta; Tampa and Jacksonville, FL; San Antonio and Austin, TX; and Tucson and Phoenix, AZ, will see the new television advertising, featuring the testimonials of actual Stein Mart customers as well as the new tag line, "Once you go, you get it."

These markets were chosen because they are multi-store areas and have a range of sales trends to measure against, said Manto. Once the results are in and the campaign is refined, it will be ready for nationwide rollout in time for holiday. The retailer has not used television advertising recently, it said, with the last time being three years ago in new-store markets.

Stein Mart has also ceased the use of percentage-off coupons as of the last weekend in July, which it distributed in its newspaper inserts and direct mail pieces. Used to attract customers during a difficult environment, that strategy has now run its course, executives said.

"Eliminating coupons will hurt our comps for the next couple of months," Michael Fisher, president and ceo, said. However, "re-deploying these markdown dollars into more strategic inventory management is a better and more effective strategy for a format such as ours...Despite short term pain we believe the time is right to make this move."

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See the May 2017 issue of Home & Textiles Today. In this issue, we discuss our annual Market Basket survey, which finds higher prices and more polyester at leading retailers. See details!