Designer beds, PL drive Bon Marché

Carole Sloan, January 6, 2003

Designer collection bedding and Federated corporate private labels are driving a strong home textiles business at The Bon Marché here.

"When great product hits the floor and it's displayed right, we get great sell-throughs," said Peter Sachse, president of the 49-unit division. "The result is we're setting new sales records by offering great values and pricing, as well as design."

But, as Sachse explained, "while home textiles overall is one of our strengths, bath is hit and miss. Utility bedding has been okay. We're a heavily penetrated textiles store."

The designer bedding collections have been especially strong, and Sachse sees the new licensing arrangement for Donna Karan Home with CHF Inds. "as very exciting.

I'm so glad for the whole Donna Karan organization. They create great product customers love, and I expect big things this year."

Other hits in home textiles, Sachse said, were Federated's Charter Club and Hotel collections. "We offer great value and price."

Looking at the rest of the home store, Sachse remarked, "It's been up and down. We're struggling with tabletop, but we're happy with our progress in housewares. And we have a terrific frame program, and luggage is coming along.

Furniture is "where we have a particular niche and we have about twice the sales penetration as the rest of Federated," Sachse noted.

This spring, The Bon will launch a new promotional campaign "branding ourselves as No. 1 in the Pacific Northwest for fashion, value and service. We're putting the very best product on the shelves, and we're going to tell a great product and service story," Sachse explained.

Looking ahead, Sachse sees the Helena, MT, test format "as being viable. Customers like many of the amenities, like shopping carts, customer verification terminals and central checkouts."

The 65,000-square-foot Helena store opened last August as part of a 42-unit Federated test "of reinventing the department store" around the country. "We are actively looking for sites and will roll it out. And we're translating some of the Helena changes into our full-line stores."

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