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Textiles lead rollout in Sears' new program

Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, October 21, 2002

Whole Home, a new three-tier home fashions program, is being launched by Sears across all home lines.

Whole Home, said Kathryn Bufano, executive vp, general manager, soft lines, is designed to offer "department store quality at Sears prices." Bufano, making a presentation at the Sears analyst meeting here last Thursday, added that home textiles and the new closet shop are the first to be rolled out in what will be Sears' proprietary brand for the home. She compared it with Covington, the newly launched Sears proprietary brand in apparel.

Whole Home is the top of the three tiers of home fashions branding that also includes Whole Home Colormate Coordinates, a fully coordinated program across home fashions, and New Traditions, the opening-price-point lines, said Leslie Mann, senior vp, gmm, softlines. In a walk-through the nearby West Dundee store that has been completely retrofitted in merchandise, layout and fixturing, Mann pointed to Whole HomeGrand Manor, a $159.99 queen comforter set as the bestseller, even though it's the top of the line.

The store also has the first of the Lands' End home furnishings — a reversible down comforter at $99 twin, a five-ounce cotton flannel sheet set at $47 twin, a combed cotton bath towel at $10 and a 250-count Supima cotton sheet set at $116 queen.

In the Whole Home intros, typical pricing is $5.49 for a bath towel, $119.99 for a cotton embroidered quilt in full/queen, a 220-count cotton sheet set at $39.99 queen, a 310-count cotton sateen queen set at $39.99 and a 250-count Egyptian cotton queen set at $69.99.

In Whole Home Colormate, a 50/50 200-count blend is $38.99 queen, an embroidered queen cotton sheet set is $44.99 for four pieces.

The store, while redone just a short time ago, already is proving a winner, said Mann. "It's very exciting. We wanted better adjacencies, coordination and quality. We set up the store the way the customer shops. We're making it easy to shop with fewer skus and more in-depth stock."

Rugs, while not completely redone, will be "totally changed" from the way they have been merchandised previously, Mann added. "We're moving away from tables to rolls, and accent rugs are a big opportunity." The rollout for rugs "will come when we get the space as stores are remodeled."

Despite the push for the Whole Home program, which had early intros last year, Bufano emphasized, "We are by no means private label stores. Seventy-five percent of our business is national brands."

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