14666 Fri, 06/13/2008 - 12:20pm
By David Gill
NEW YORK–The contrast between Macy’s bed-ensemble department and that of Bed Bath & Beyond reflects the differences in the merchandise offerings of the two major retailers.
The Macy’s space is dominated by the major designers’ shop concepts. Ralph Lauren Home, Calvin Klein Home, Donna Karan’s DKNY brand, Martha Stewart Living and others have their own dedicated space, with fixturing that varies in style. Bed Bath & Beyond has some dedicated space to certain brands—DKNY, which recently launched at the home-furnishings specialty chain, and Tommy Bahama—and offers other collections mixed together in a racetrack-style layout.
HFN visited the flagship locations of the two retailers here at the end of May—the Macy’s store at its historic location on West 34th Street, and the Bed Bath & Beyond on Sixth Avenue, in the Chelsea district.
The Macy’s presentation is just what one would expect from the nation’s largest department-store chain. The major designers are there, prominently featured and well-signed; but so are a number of other shop concepts and some newcomers to the fold.
Ralph Lauren’s section, not surprisingly, covers the most space of any of the shops. The frontage measures about 120 running feet, and the shop includes 10 display beds and wall shelf fixtures with sheets, ensembles and decorative displays on each of the top shelves. The decor is very traditional in the display beds and in the moldings along the top of the shelves.
The next largest section, with a frontage of about 100 running feet, is that for the Hotel Collection. It has 10 display beds and is the only shop without wall fixtures. The merchandise is placed on floor fixtures of varying sizes, and the area features a highly modernistic decor. Unlike the designers’ shops, the signage for the Hotel Collection is not prominent.
The Calvin Klein shop, not surprisingly, uses a very spare, almost oriental decor—matching the design that has characterized his ensembles since the program was introduced in the mid-1990s—with display beds in chrome and shelf fixtures in the wall, offering sheets and bed ensembles. There are eight display beds in the Calvin Klein space and the front measures 75 running feet.
Along the same lines in terms of decor are the DKNY shop (at a frontage of 33 running feet, the smallest of the major designers), the Michael Kors area and the Lacoste Home space. On the more traditional side are the Tommy Hilfiger shop and the Martha Stewart space. The latter has a frontage of about 100 running feet, 10 display beds, two shelf fixtures with merchandise around the four-sided perimeter and freestanding floor fixtures with ensembles—reflecting the importance of Martha’s line to Macy’s.
The Lacoste Home shop is one of the newest additions to the fold in Macy’s bedding department. The collection was introduced by Lacoste to the U.S. market earlier this year. The frontage is about 50 running feet, and the large “Lacoste Home” sign is a clear attempt to catch browsers’ attention. The decor is very simple with three display beds and shelves placed into the walls, along with photographs of the collection’s brightly colored designs.
At the Bed Bath & Beyond store, the bedding is found on the lower level. The first sight the shopper sees on descending the escalator is a large sign announcing the presence of the DKNY collection, which reads, “Introducing DKNY.” The brand debuted at Bed Bath & Beyond in April, making it the first of the major apparel-designer lines to stretch its distribution beyond the department stores.
There is also a dedicated DKNY area, next to the Tommy Bahama Home section. This section features two display beds and the retailer’s signature floor-to-ceiling mesh shelving, with merchandise on the lower shelves and pictorial displays on the top shelves.
DKNY and Tommy Bahama Home actually share an area; the latter has one display bed and wall shelving that is set up in the same way as the DKNY section. Also in the Tommy Bahama area are floor fixtures with bed ensembles. This combined section includes four-sided, floor-to-ceiling fixtures with merchandise unrelated to bed ensembles. Among these products are wood tray tables, media racks for storing CDs and halogen table lamps.
Two other major design collections are in the Bed Bath & Beyond department. Nautica is present with three display beds and wall shelving, and the merchandise includes both comforter and quilt ensembles. The Raymond Waites line can also be found here, with one display bed and merchandise on four-sided, floor-to-ceiling fixtures. Overall, quilt ensembles and freestanding quilts encompass a significant amount of the space in the department.
This Bed Bath & Beyond location has a curious approach to the organization of its bed-ensemble department. While collections such as DKNY, Tommy Bahama Home and Nautica have their own dedicated space, the merchandise from these collections can also be found in areas outside of those spaces. The store leaves it up to the shopper to search out these spaces.