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Wal-Mart to launch two new home brands

Bentonville, Ark. – Wal-Mart will launch two new multi-category home brands next year as part of its effort to create a stronger brand presence in a category that lacks strong national brands, the retailer’s head of home said during the company’s analyst meeting here this afternoon.

In spring 2008, Wal-Mart will launch Canopy, a casual private label brand covering bedding, bath, table linens, rugs, dinnerware, furniture and lighting. Positioned as “essential” items, “these will not be trendy products in any way,” said Linda Hefner, who joined the company in June as evp and general manager for home.

Wal-Mart will follow up in the fall with the launch of Better Homes and Gardens, again across multiple categories with a traditional design focus. Referring to a slide featuring fashion bedding, Hefner noted it was a mock-up but added, “Everything on that bed will sell for about $99.”

Both brands will be slotted as “better” merchandise. “We need good and better products, not best,” she said. “Best” products in home will be presented only selectively, she said.

The retailer’s MainStays program in home, she noted, accounts for about one-third of home sales. Wal-Mart is working on improved product, packaging and marketing for the brand, Hefner said.

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