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Web Exclusive: Anna's chief merchant on new luxury department

Luxury Lane offers higher thread counts, all-cotton goods

Luxury Lane-AnnaLuxury Lane encompasses 300 skus of bedding and bath.
Costa Mesa, Calif. - Anna's Linens has kicked it up a notch and will be coming to next month's New York Home Fashions Market with an expanded shopping list and open-to-buy for a roster of goods it has not traditionally stocked.
The company's new Luxury Lane aisle - found in 103 of Anna's 315 stores - offers duvet covers, comforters, blankets, sheets, quilts, basic bedding and towels in better constructions and more muted palettes. Although heavily discounted like all Anna's merchandise, price points on some of Luxury Lane's 300-odd skus can run from 50% higher to three times higher than the retailer's pricing on its core assortment.
Anna's began installing the sections, which average about 48 linear feet, last November and rolled them out over 60 days. "We're hoping we'll have great directional information as we head into New York market," Carie G. Doll, chief merchandising officer, told H&TT. 


Following the fan club

Comments from Anna's fan club members and focus groups drove the decision to create Luxury Lane, she said. Shoppers said they wanted higher quality bedding, higher thread counts and thicker towels. And cotton was very important to them.

Luxury Lane-AnnaBeefy low-twist towels are offered in spa colors.
"We have spent an inordinate amount of time and energy getting close to our customer," said Doll. Their interest in better goods "may not be so much ‘new' as it is new to us."
Anna's originally thought it could satisfy that demand via ecommerce. "We knew we had it online. We were more surprised that we had [demand] in that many stores," said Doll.
Duvet covers are solid color in 300-count cotton. Sheets are offered in 200-, 500- and 600-count Pima. Shoppers "really wanted a super deep sheet to fit the pillow-top mattress," she said. Low-twist Egyptian cotton towels aim for a spa look, as do coordinating jacquards. The basic bedding assortment now includes memory foam mattress rejuvenators. 



Anna's core assortment has always included a healthy portion of opportunistic buys, and Doll said she'll consider the same for Luxury Lane. "It's a market we've never been open to before," she noted.
Also on the agenda for Anna's: drop shipping. "In the last six to nine months as we're talking with vendors it's become a key topic," said Doll. "I've heard some people say there are retailers that won't put in a program unless the vendor can drop ship."
In fact, the subject of technology will take up a significant portion of the agenda during Anna's annual vendor summit in April. "Ecommerce is huge. Mobile. We're looking at all of it," she said. "We have major initiatives surrounding technology."

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