Lord and Taylor opens home showcase
David Perry -- Furniture Today, October 22, 2010
New York - Home furnishings will have a new showcase as Lord & Taylor re-enters the business next week with a 21,000-square-foot presentation on the ninth floor of its flagship unit here on Fifth Avenue.
The floor will be dominated by across-the- board home furnishings offerings from the Lauren Ralph Lauren home program and the Calvin Klein Collection, Studio and White label offerings. Lauren Ralph Lauren has 45% of the total floor space while Calvin Klein has 30%. The balance currently houses a trim-a-tree department and a shop for packaged gourmet foods.
The reentry into the home arena comes after an absence of 23 years "and is the result of customer requests," said Barbara Zinn-Moore, svp/gmm home, cosmetics, and gourmet.
Several years ago, parent company NRDC had contemplated adding home back into the equation at the flagship using the resources of the specialty retailer Fortunoff, which it had acquired, but the company was later dissolved.
"This is a business opportunity we saw in the marketplace and also because we had customer requests for it. They want more one-stop shopping," Zinn-Moore observed.
Decades earlier, the retailer had been acclaimed for its high-end decorative fabrics, bed, bath and window coverings selection - and customer services.
Between the two power brands there are 19 beds and six fully set tables with table linens, tableware and table accessories spotlighted.
The new floor was developed with a task force that spent six months studying the challenges and opportunities, Zinn-Moore explained. The result - "everyone was energized," she emphasized.
The plan that emerged, she explained, "was to do everything a little different from our competition. These are two of our most important suppliers store-wide." Bedding, she believes, will be the biggest product category - it sets the ambience of the design statements.
And in bedding, the store will showcase all Calvin Klein brands - Collection, Studio and White Label.
Throughout the product selection process as well as the presentation, "there were lots of mutual decisions using their expertise - and we took a lot of their recommendations."
The full breadth of each program is showcased here - bedding, tabletop, gifts, decorative accessories, rugs and lighting. Furniture, a challenge for many retailers in terms of logistics, customer service and returns, will be handled "by our own white glove delivery service with the recommendations of the suppliers," Zinn-Moore said. Furniture, lighting and rugs will be drop shipped from the licensees and their will be same-day delivery for the other products in New York - "the same as other retailers do. New York customers expect this."
In terms of product selection for both brands, "we picked the best of the collections versus exclusives. It is more important to have the right products."
Looking ahead, Zinn-Moore remarked, "We are focused on successfully launching this department and are looking at rolling out the concept in more stores next year." Lord & Taylor operates 48 stores, including two outlets.
"We're still in the planning stages for product after the holiday season, but will have an assortment of gifting products," Zinn-Moore explained.
The launch is being supported by a store-wide "friends and family" sale event this month, a launch party this week, direct mail promotions, New York only promotion books and Fifth Avenue windows. The program is part of a store-wide event celebrating the reopening of five floors that have been renovated. HTT
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