The New Home in Town
Warren Shoulberg -- Home Textiles Today, 9/21/2011 6:26:38 AM
PARAMUS, N.J. - If one were to call the brand new Lord & Taylor Home store that just opened here two weeks ago the reincarnation of Linens 'n Things, it really wouldn't be fair or quite accurate. But it would be pretty darn close.
The new store, one of two test locations in New Jersey, represents the first entry into the home superstore channel since the demise of LNT four years ago and the similarity in the two operations runs far beyond the coincidence of abbreviation pronunciations, a visit to the store reveals.
Lord & Taylor Home is an outgrowth of Home Outfitters, the Canadian home superstore chain owned by Hudson Bay, which is also the parent of the Lord & Taylor department store operation in the U.S. And while that store is experimenting with a home department at its flagship in New York City, this new store is a very different animal.
Merchandised and bought by the Home Outfitters staff, it brings many of the elements of that operation across the border, including private label brands, merchandise assortments and presentations.
Across its 23,000-square-foot location here, next to a traditional L&T department store in the Fashion Center mall, the new store mixes soft home with housewares, tabletop, a sampling of gourmet food and candy, and a Nespresso boutique that greets shoppers at the entrance.
As such, it is clearly aimed at the 800-pound gorilla in the home superstore space, which perhaps not coincidentally, is conveniently located at the other end of the mall: Bed Bath & Beyond.
And just as the old Linens ‘n Things tried to go a peg or two upstairs in both merchandise and presentation from BBB, this new store appears to be taking a similar tack. But the similarities don't stop there ... far from it:
• The layout of the store is classic LNT, with wider bays, more display beds and less clutter than Bed Bath.
• There is a mix of national brands, like Nautica and Wamsutta, to go along with core private labels like Home Studio and the store's in-house designer line, Gluckstein Home.
• Among those private-label brands is Linens 'n Things itself, which has been licensed by Hudson Bay and here adorns a mix of bedding and bath merchandise.
• At least based on its grand opening promotion, the new store adheres to a high-low pricing strategy with a broad assortment of sale items. There is nary a coupon in sight on its grand opening circular, although the piece does include a price-matching guarantee clause.
• And those with a special appreciation for the obscure and the ironic will recognize this mall as the location of the long-gone Kalkin Home store, started by one Eugene Kalkin - the original founder of Linens 'n Things.
However, there are some differences with the old LNT game plan. The mix in the store skews to about 60% hard home and 40% soft home, the approximate reverse of the old Linens set-up and much more in line with Bed Bath's matrix.
Grand Opening Specials
Among the products featured by Lord & Taylor Home at its grand opening sale (including limited inventory items) which began on Sept. 10, were:
And while there is less item-merchandising than the typical BBB, there are promotional tables throughout the racetrack aisles - and no one will ever call the layout spacious.
Bedding dominates the right-hand front of the store, with a long lineup of display beds fronting the bedding bays. Inventory is carried in high wall displays, in classic superstore fixtures.
Decorative bedding national brands on display in the store include Wamsutta, DKNY, Trina Turk, Roxy and Quicksilver, supplemented by the private labels including Home Studio, Gluckstein and Linens 'n Things. The utility bedding assortment, largely comprised of private labels, did have a fairly broad Sealy Posturepedic presence.
Put-ups ran the gamut from open stock to sets to bed-in-a-bag, in all the usual thread-count and fiber configurations.
Lord & Taylor Heads Home
On the bath side, there were a number of solid color towel options, ranging from an LNT $8.99 program to a top-of-the-line Gluckstein Home line at $34.99 for the bath towel, though it was on sale for $24.99. There was also a strong display of Avanti embellished towels, including the company's pre-monogrammed program.
If You're Going...
The new Lord & Taylor Home store is in the Fashion Center Mall on Route 17 in Paramus, N.J. By car, it is about 20 to 30 minutes from the George Washington Bridge, depending on traffic.
|Lord & Taylor Home’s bedding department, top, features display beds at the head of each inventory
bay. Racking, far left, is classic big-box superstore fixturing with nicely merchandised signage
and headers. The Linens ’n Things brand, licensed from its new owners, is featured prominently
throughout the soft side of the store.|
Bedding and towels were augmented by bath accessories, kitchen and table areas, and hard bath before the store transitioned on its back wall to the hard side, including decorative accents, framed art, tabletop, housewares and gourmet food and candy. That side of the store is much heavier into national brands, including a wide mix of core housewares labels.
A second Lord & Taylor store is scheduled to open later this month in Shrewsbury, N.J., in the central part of the state.
On a Friday morning before the Paramus store had done any promotional marketing for its grand opening sale the following day, there were a number of shoppers, more lookers than buyers as workers filled in inventory and straightened the towels. The new store was clearly getting ready for its close-up.
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