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Sale of the Century

Jill Rowen, Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, December 8, 2008

We all know about the BIG BLACK FRIDAY shopping extravaganza as a consumer frenzy. But while home textiles are but a mere drop in the bucket compared with electronics, washer/dryer specials and toys, they certainly were part of the mix for the season's kickoff extravaganza.

Just to show how low prices can go, I've assembled a roster of some major and not-so major players and what they were willing to do to grab the business that's out there.

Under the banner of "Our lowest prices of the holidays," Target offered Casual Home bath towels at $4, any size Home flannel comforter/sham sets at $19.99 and a "super soft" shag rug at $25 for the 30-inch-by-48-inch.

Macy's highlighted Martha Stewart's flannel sheet collection at $19.99 to $89.99, with comforter covers also on sale.

Northeastern regional department store chain Boscov's promoted a blockbuster "any size, one price" event with fleece or flannel sheet sets at $19.97, down and feather blankets at $29.99, and bed toppers at $49.97.

Doorbusters were the key for JCPenney ,with discounts of 50% to 60% on the retailer's entire stock of items from quilts to juniors' bedding to decorative pillows, sheets, sheet sets, towels, bed pillows and more.

Even regional players like Ocean State Job Lot were on the home textiles bandwagon of specials with "super premium towels by WestPoint" at $6, "oversized heavyweight towels" at $4.99 and a range of decorative pillows from $2 to $5 among the offerings of rugs, shower curtains, blankets and sheets at low-ball prices.

Family Dollar pitched its entire stock of comforters at 25% off on the cover of its circular — a unique positioning considering that most lead items are toys or holiday entertaining.

Sears had an array of home textiles with bonus pillows included in a down alternative comforter set at $29.99, any size; a 22-piece room-in-a-bag for $119.99; and $49.99 for queen or king eight-piece sheet sets, among a number of other home textiles doorbusters.

Regional department store chain Bon-Ton highlighted reversible microfiber down alternative comforters at $19.97 all sizes, as well as Ralph Lauren down alternative comforters at $59.97 all sizes. And Vellux blankets at $19.97 any size.

Kids were not ignored by the home textiles world, with stores like Kmart promoting licensed sheet sets at $13.99 and comforters at $24.99.

Now that the retailing community has established these lows for home textiles, where can it go from here? Is the pit bottomless?

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