The Great Indoors tells compelling new 'story'
By Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, 8/6/2001 12:00:00 AM
OAKBROOK, IL —
With the opening of its second Denver metro store last week, The Great Indoors reached several milestones.
The Broomfield, CO, store is the fledgling chain's first two-story layout, and Kassie Jones, vp, gmm, soft lines, said the soft opening in the two weeks prior "showed significant sales on the upper floor" where bedroom and windows are located. In fact, she noted, "We had more sales on the second floor than the first."
At the same time, The Great Indoors is bringing its merchandising of hard lines and soft lines closer together as decorating statements. The new store features a French toile theme with bath and home entertainment items incorporated in vignettes in the windows with home textiles and accessories/dinnerware.
The chain also is launching a strong print and TV advertising campaign, using a 60-second overview commercial with 15-second, product-specific inserts.
Since the launch of the first The Great Indoors in 1999, there have been changes both in target audience and merchandise mix, Jones told the Home Fashions Source Seminar here. "Our initial target customer was 35 to 54 with a $50,000 annual income. Now we see the income level of $75,000 plus — upper income, but not rich — with more taste over price. For this customer, time is as important as money."
With the new Denver store and two Chicagoland stores already open this year, The Great Indoors has more on tap for '01: a second two-level unit in metro Detroit (Novi), one each in Chico Hills and Irvine, CA; Cincinnati; a second in Phoenix metro (Chandler); and Columbus, OH, its first unit attached to a mall.
Houston, which had two units scheduled for this year, has been moved to 2002 because of recent floods, Jones explained.
Next year, in addition to Houston, there will be 10 to 12 new units, including Washington, Woodbridge, NJ, and Las Vegas. There are an additional 29 in the pipeline — but without definite real estate situations lined up, Jones said.
The Chicagoland stores that opened in June in Schaumberg and Lombard "exceeded all of our grand openings," Jones said. More than 40,000 customers went through each store in the first four days, and in that time period TGI "sold more than 2,000 Fieldcrest tub mats, 10,350 Pillowtex pillows and 2,860 Pacific Coast Feather down comforters," Jones said.
The customer base and merchandise mix is quite different from Sears, Jones emphasized, and "there is only a 10 percent overlap of customers." Using Denver as the test platform, Jones noted that the top 5 percent of customers made 11 trips to the store over a 12-month period and spent $700 per trip.
On a pro forma basis, the stores did more than $500 per square feet, with Denver hitting $60 million in 2000 and reaching for more than $63 million in '01. Last year, comps for the group were 20 percent, turns 3.7 and overall comp growth this year is pegged in the single-digit-plus range, she said.
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