15520 Wed, 10/29/2008 - 11:48am
NEW YORK–Kmart is betting big on the Jaclyn Smith Home Collection.
The bed and bath line launched last month and will expand to furniture, rugs, tabletop, home patio and lawn and garden in the spring, executives said, during a tea event here at the Bryant Park Grill.
The Smith collection fills the void in Kmart’s home mix for contemporary and transitional looks and will “broaden our customer base,” Doug Wurl, vice president and general merchandise manager of home for Sears Holdings, Kmart’s parent company, told HFN.
It builds on the actress/designer’s 23-year partnership with Kmart.
The line is positioned as “better” in the good-better-best equation, with the Martha Stewart Everyday home collection occupying the “best” spot.
The fall bedding line includes patterns such as Spring Shadows, with satin-trimmed stitching, and Willow, with custom embroidery.
The collection reflects how the former Charlie’s Angel lives at home.
“I like to mix and match at home—chintz with a plaid,” for example, Smith told HFN.
And the Smith line is the culmination of notable changes to Kmart’s home branding strategy this year, Wurl said.
Those changes include the launch of Cannon bedding, which will be exclusive to Kmart in 2009.
”As a national brand, Cannon offers credibility that represents great value and quality,” Wurl said.
The private label Essential Home line fills the “good” slot in the retailer’s home assortment.
“This change in our strategy more clearly defines for our customer where the brand lives in our good-better-best hierarchy,” Wurl said. “It creates a cleaner, more sensible” home floor.
By spring of 2009, “you’ll see dramatic” changes to Kmart’s assortment with launches from Cannon and the Jaclyn Smith collection.
The home business has been tough across retail distribution channels and Wurl said Kmart’s home business is “trending along the lines of the industry.”
Martha Stewart’s contract with Kmart expires in 2010. Executives at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia have said it is unlikely that Stewart will renew her contract with Kmart.
The Stewart line “is still a very important brand” for Kmart, Wurl said, but declined to discuss whether or not the home line will remain at Kmart in 2010.
Looking ahead to the holidays, Wurl said, “It’s a difficult business environment ... the consumer mind-set is about value.”
When asked what niche Kmart’s home business fills when compared to competitors ranging from Wal-Mart and Target to J.C. Penney and Kohl’s, Wurl said, “We can leverage our scale” as a division of Sears Holdings. “The customer gives us the permission at Kmart to be really good at home.”