New Spiegel catalog targets bed, bath

Don Hogsett, Carole Sloan, October 21, 2002

Capitalizing on what it sees as a major trend, Spiegel next week launches its first freestanding Spiegel Home Bed & Bath catalog.

Based on research indicating that women are looking for more control of their lives and surroundings, and that the bedroom and bath in the home are sanctuaries, "We are keying the catalog to the things that make the bed and bath special," said Bradford Matson, senior vp, advertising and brand communications.

The catalog, which will be mailed to one million customers, is 52 pages and offers a full range of bed and bath from luxury bedding with silk, cashmere and lots of luxury embellishments to basic bedding — mattress pads, pillows and comforters. "We selected fibers and materials that have a tactile quality; they feel good," explained Lynette Franz Cvikota, vp, home. The new catalog is different from On View, the company's existing freestanding home catalog, which appeals to a more traditional customer, Cvikota noted. About 80 percent of the product mix is new and will be picked up in the spring 2003 big book.

In terms of sourcing, about half of the overall home textiles come from off shore. On View is primarily sourced domestically, while most of the new catalog is sourced off shore, Cvikota added.

Overall, in home textiles, "We are developing our own proprietary product" to the point that it now represents about 80 percent of the mix. "We've moved away from national brands," she said.

The format in the new catalog shows a room first and then breaks out the items separately with pricing and description.

Among the highlights of the Spiegel Home Bed & Bath are hem-stitched linen/cotton sheets, monogrammed pillows "for a personal touch," an Australian wool throw with suede trim, a cashmere/silk throw, a silk blanket and satin comforter.

In towels, there is a good, better, best approach starting at $20 for the bath.

Sheets are sold as sets, and next year the company expects to move to sets for towels as well, Cvikota noted.

The new catalog also offers furniture appropriate to bedroom furnishings. An upholstered headboard is a key feature covered in a choice of white cotton duck, suede, denim and velvet. Accessories also are important accents for the bed and bath.

Spiegel sees its website as an important and growing piece of the business, now representing about 20 percent of sales, said Matson. An important feature, he noted, is the ability to test product before a catalog drops. "And the return rate is about the same as the catalog."

The new bed and bath "is being mailed mostly to our customer file and website users," Matson added.

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