Author Archives: Duke Ratliff

About Duke Ratliff

Editor-in-Chief

Summertime 2013, Livin’s Easy

Duke_Ratliff

Has there ever been a better time to be in the home furnishings business? Well, after ignoring the sluggish sales, price-crushing competition and penny-pinching consumers… Let me rephrase that: Has there ever been a better time to be in the home furnishings business, uh, potentially? Although the bottom line for vendors and retailers may notMore »

Last updated: August 12, 2013

JCP, RB, NYC

Duke_Ratliff

There were two notable home store openings in New York last month, offering an exercise in comparison and contrast for the home business. J.C. Penney finally opened its much-discussed new home shop in Manhattan, featuring exclusive shops from Michael Graves, Bodum, Pantone, Jonathan Adler and Martha Stewart. (Terence Conran’s Design by Conran shop was notMore »

Last updated: October 24, 2013

HSN Takes to the Outdoors With HGTV

The HGTV Home Wagon

By Duke Ratliff Since the spring, HGTV has been curating products as HGTV Home Outdoor Living to be sold across HSN’s multiple platforms. HGTV personalities, including John Gidding, are helping to present the items to consumers; and the partnership is expanding to include HGTV Home Outdoor living branded products. For HSN, the partnership reflects theMore »

Last updated: July 1, 2013

Ullman’s Revenge

Duke_Ratliff

The J.C. Penney watch continued last month as the retailer reported a huge loss—$348 million—for its first quarter. The nation’s most closely critiqued retail chain performed even worse than had been expected, reporting a 16 percent drop in sales compared to last year to continue its long decline in sales. Last week, the chain securedMore »

Last updated: October 24, 2013

Crazy for JCP

Duke_Ratliff

Remember Crazy Eddie? Back in the ’80s, the New York-based consumer electronics chain was known for its loudmouthed spokesperson, presumably Crazy Eddie himself. In ubiquitous television and radio ads, Eddie would proclaim at the top of his lungs that his prices were “insaaaaaaane!” J.C. Penney, suffering from a long hangover of too much Ron Johnson,More »

Last updated: October 24, 2013

Pondering Millennials

Duke_Ratliff

Call them a marketer’s dream—or nightmare—the consumer segment dubbed “millennials” (consumers aged 18-34) is starting to make its presence felt in the home furnishings industry. Attention-getting products targeting millennials have been seen at every trade show this year. These items are usually inventive, colorful or unusual in some way—perfectly reflecting the quirky, hard-to-pigeonhole millennials. LastMore »

Last updated: October 24, 2013

SodaStream Goes Mainstream

SodaStream Goes Mainstream

As the home furnishings industry convenes for its annual gathering at McCormick Place, it’s interesting to note that U.S. consumers are in the midst of a rare housewares moment. Fizz-maker SodaStream created a housewares buzz amongst consumers with a much-seen ad during the recent Super Bowl. The Israeli-based company undoubtedly will have one of theMore »

Last updated: June 25, 2013

Walmart, My Hometown’s Hero

Walmart, My Hometown’s Hero

My hometown was replaced by a Walmart—seriously. While critics have complained for years that the nation’s largest retailer ruins town centers, my hometown of Grundy, Va., pinned its economic future on a much-hoped-for Walmart store. After a long wait—I initially wrote about Grundy’s attempts to get a Walmart in 2005—the store is slated for aMore »

Last updated: June 25, 2013