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Multi-packs soak up towel sales

In 2002, the kitchen textiles business was all about price. Department stores tacitly surrendered market share in kitchen textiles last year while variety/closeout operators and off-price chains gained in the category, Home Textiles Today's annual The Facts report found.

Despite the category's increasing maturity, which encouraged eroding price points, retail sales of kitchen textiles managed to increase 1.4 percent last year to $446 million.

While sales growth has been modest, at best, the research findings show an underlying trend that appears to confirm continuing price erosion.

Some of the biggest proponents of aggressive pricing in kitchen textiles are the discount department stores, which continued to grab by far the largest chunk of total revenue for the category — $205 million, or 46 percent, a share unchanged from 2001.

Also, sales of multi-packs have proliferated at discount stores as well as those already sold through warehouse clubs. The trend has only added to the promotional nature of the business.

That appears to be a reason department stores have largely walked away from the business, or at least reduced skus.

Department stores lost two market share points, sinking from 6 percent to 4 percent, while recording sales last year of $18 million. Off-price chains, rose one percentage point to a 6 percent share and $27 million in sales. Variety/close-out stores rose to a 7 percent market share with $31 million in sales.

Distribution Channels Share 2002 % Sales 2002 $
sales in $millions 2001 2001
* home improvement centers, military exchanges and gift/home accent stores.
1. Discount department stores 46% $205
46 202
2. Mid-price chains 20 89
20 88
3. Home textiles specialty chains 13 58
113 57
4. Variety/closeout 7 31
6 26
5. Off-price chains 6 27
5 22
6. Department stores 4 18
6 26
7. Single unit specialty stores 1 4
1 4
8. Direct-to-consumer 1 4
1 4
9. Warehouse clubs 1 4
1 4
10. Other* 1 4
1 4

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