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LNT won't play down

Though its quality is "significantly higher," Linens 'n Things will not be undersold on like items by mass merchants, Bill Giles, cfo, told investors at the Bear Stearns' retail conference last week.

If the consumer wants a $1.99 towel, however, she will go to Wal-Mart, he said, but "we don't start there; we'll start at about $3.99. For a little bit of money you can increase the quality level significantly and the value proposition."

He also said that Linens is happy to be next to a Target, for example, in a shopping center geared toward home furnishings. "We will beat them on selection, assortment, and guest services. And we will not be undersold for like items."

He also said that Linens is at or below the sale price of 25 percent to 30 percent of everyday department store prices.

Now at $170 sales per square foot, Giles said that the retailer plans to get back up to the $185 level of a few years ago, with the goal of $200.

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