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Life below the 200s: Wal-Mart ups the fashion ante

Dennis Nessler -- Home Textiles Today, February 18, 2002

East Meadow, NY — While thread counts climb ever higher across the retail landscape, Wal-Mart is upgrading the fashionability of its low-count offerings with the introduction of new private label sheet sets. Combined with new introductions in towels, the retailer's bedding and bath department has taken on a more vibrant look in its recently opened store here in a modest Long Island suburb.

The month-old store positions The Linen Closet collection, made by Springs, with the new No Boundaries private label collection prominently within the home textiles department. Also new to the company's assortment is a new private label Mainstays Home program. Typical of the discounter, the new programs were rolled out with little or no fanfare and display no special signage.

The Linen Closet sheet collection, which is given approximately 12 feet of shelf space at the front of the department, is a 180-count percale, 50 percent cotton, 50 percent polyester blend with embroidered hem. The entire bedding assortment is made in the United States, with the exception of coordinating quilts, which are made in China.

The sheet sets range in retail from $19.96 for a twin set to $49.96 for king sets and are offered in stripes and solids. The lineup also includes bed ruffles which range in retail from $16.96 for a twin to $31.96 for a king.

In addition, a pair of pillowcases retail for $9.96, while shams are sold for $16.96 each.

The Linen Closet sheet sets feature six different patterns, which coordinate with the comforter sets as well as decorative pillows. The patterns include Hydrangea, Daisy, Gingham Floral, Rose Floral, Rose Floral Signature and Rustic Cottage.

The Linen Closet quilts are merchandised on an end-cap display, retailing for $69.99 each. Pillowcases and bedskirts for the collection are sold open stock as well.

The No Boundaries collection, a private label program made in the United States, is positioned adjacent to The Linen Closet collection, also comprising about 12 feet of shelf space. The soft percale sheets are a blend of 50 percent polyester, 50 percent cotton and feature bright colors with youth appeal. The program also includes bath towels, some of which are embroidered.

Offered in sets featuring stripes and solids, No Boundaries features a wide array of colors and patterns. Some of the patterns include Dream Daisy Hangloose, Preppy Plaid, Octane, Hot House, Island Escape and Kiss Me.

The sheet sets retail for $16.96 for a twin set, $22.96 for a full set and $28.96 for a queen set. The sheets sets are designed to coordinate with No Boundaries comforter sets as well. Pillowcases are sold in pairs at $9.96.

The No Boundaries collection includes 27" x 52" towels in several vibrant colors. The towels retail for $5.00 and come in cobalt, lime, tangerine, aqua, ribbon, and purple.

No Boundaries also includes some embroidered 27" x 50" Kiss Me towels for $7.96. The collection also includes tropic bath towels with embroidered designs retailing for $7.96.

The new Mainstays Home collection, made in the U.S., merchandised adjacent to its Cannon branded sheets, is given approximately 8 feet of shelf space. The 128-count blend of 50 percent cotton, 50 percent polyester sheets are sold in sets and include stripes and solids. Retail prices range from $7.87 for a twin set to $21.97 for a queen set. Pillowcases are sold open stock.

Meanwhile, the company continues to give its Jubilee program approximately 20 feet of shelf space devoted to the collection, which features close to 20 different striped and solid patterns.

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