March 6, 2006-- Home Textiles Today,
Kohl's Crows Over Home, Rolls Brands
Home was the leading departments at Kohl's during the fourth quarter, the retailer said as it announced the soft home rollout of its exclusive Candies and Apt. 9 brands. “Home was much improved in the quarter as customers noticed the changes we were making to the assortment, both with our good-better-best strategy as well as the increased offerings in the contemporary and updated lifestyles,” said Kohl's coo Arlene Meier. Kohl's last year saw nearly 20% in profit growth — and its highest gross margin increase ever. The $13.4 billion retailer plans to add 80 units this year, part of its plan to pump up its 732-store count by 500 doors by 2010.
Sears Favors 'Grand' Over 'Essentials'
Sears Holdings will convert 14 of its off-the-mall Kmart stores to the Sears Grand format this year, rather than to the Sears Essentials model as planned. The 50 existing Essentials units seem to be losing in comparison to the larger Grand concept, which features shop-in-shop presentation. Sears Grand launched in 2003 and numbers just eight units; Sears Essentials debuted in 2005.
Martha K-Sales Down, Royalties Up
Kmart paid Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO) $28.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2005, up from $23.7 million in the same period a year ago — even while sales of Martha Stewart Everyday products “declined modestly in the quarter, with weakness in soft home partially offset by sales related to our recently introduced furniture line — Everyday Rooms,” MSLO said. The payout was driven by contractual minimum royalty guarantees.
Marshall Field's Extends Returns
Marshall Field's is extending its 90-day return/exchange policy to 180 days. “Many of our guests have expressed a need for more time to decide if their purchases are right for themselves or their gift recipients,” said Frank Guzzetta, chairman and ceo, Macy's North. Goods that have been worn, used or altered may not be returned or refunded unless defective.
BJ's Offers High-Low Merchandising
BJ's Wholesale Club is upgrading assortments, qualities and brands, while sharpening its price levels so that members can trade up — or down — executives said. “For example, in domestics, members now have the option of trading up to 1,000 thread count sheets for $79 or trading down to a complete bed-in-a-bag set for $100,” said Michael Wedge, president and ceo. “And both items are selling very well.”