May 28, 2001-- Home Textiles Today,
Domestics R Us at KRU
In its first quarter conference call last week, Toys "R" Us outlined its plans for the new Lifestyles department going into retrofitted Kids "R" Us units. The 2000-sq.-ft. department marks the debut of children's bedding, bath and accessories in the chain. The first department, part of a new prototype, opened in November 2000 in Freehold, NJ, is generating significant double-digit comp sales, said John Eyler, president and ceo. The Totowa, NJ, prototype store (see story page 1), opened in March, is already outperforming the Freehold store, he added. The company will convert six more stores to the prototype and add Lifestyles departments to 80 others for back-to-school. If they perform as expected, the company will begin an aggressive chain-wide remodeling program.
Kohl's: Expanded domestics off to a good start
Kohl's execs said that the reformatted home sections that debuted in the company's new Atlanta stores during spring (see HTT, March 19), are exceeding expectations. The new layout presents home goods in a unified section as opposed to dividing domestics from housewares and tabletop. The new sections will be rolled out in all new openings and remodels, then added to existing stores on a market-by-market basis. The company also said that as part of its upcoming forays into the southwest and southern California, it is planning to add a distribution center in the Los Angeles area and will revamp a former Wards DC to service the Texas area.
Neiman Marcus cuts back
With top line sales growth stalled and markdowns pressuring margins, Neiman Marcus said it will cut 190 full-time jobs, a 1.5 percent reduction in its workforce across the board in its three divisions: Neiman Marcus Stores, Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus Direct. No sales associates or telemarketing reps will be affected. Half the jobs are vacant positions that won't be filled, the company said. Looking ahead, the company will accelerate markdowns on seasonal goods to clear inventories and is working with vendors to reduce fall inventory receipts, company execs said during its third quarter conference call last week. Nonetheless, the company expects during the fourth quarter to have more inventory than it did during the fourth quarter of 2000.
Babies "R" Us teams with Amazon.com
Like parent company Toys "R" Us before it, Babies "R" Us last week moved its on-line store and baby registry to Amazon.com's platform, creating a co-branded site that will feature exclusive merchandise. The site carries around 150 skus of domestics for infants and toddlers produced by a variety of companies, including Mount Vernon Mills, Springs, Red Calliope, Gerber and Graco.
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