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Retail briefs

Costco prepares for Home store launch

Costco is on schedule to open its new home furnishings format, Costco Home, in the first week in December, said Jim Sinegal, president and ceo. While the average Costco warehouse is 135,000 square feet, the former HomeBase store will be about 100,000 square feet, he said, and is located near the company's Issaquah, WA, headquarters in Kirkland, WA. Less than 10 percent of the merchandise will be textiles, he said, though he believes there will be some expansion in upscale sets of bedding, quilts and such.

LNT taps into new software

In an effort to better manage its inventory and optimize stock levels of top-selling items, Linens 'n Things will implement the 4R Supply Planning Product Suite software. The customized software will be used to forecast and plan inventory stock levels for more than 25,000 skus, representing a wide variety of products.

Elder-Beerman grows concept store

Augmenting its new concept store designed for smaller markets, Elder-Beerman announced plans to open its newest unit in DeKalb, IL, next spring, representing the 67-store chain's 11th concept store overall and third in the state of Illinois. The 52,000-square-foot, one-story store will carry fashion apparel, accessories and shoes for women, juniors, men, young men and children, fine cosmetics and fragrances, and home furnishings.

NRF forecasts moderate holiday growth

Citing consumers' cautious approach and a sluggish retail economy, the National Retail Federation (NRF) is forecasting moderate holiday retail sales growth of 4.0 percent, down from last year's 5.6 percent gains and more in line with the 4.3 percent gains in the 2000 holiday season. NRF defines holiday retail sales as sales in November and December for retail stores in the GAFS category, which is made up of general merchandise stores, clothing and clothing accessories stores, furniture and home furnishing stores, electronics and appliance stores, and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores.

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