17124 Thu, 10/08/2009 - 4:21pm
By David Gill
The weather outside will soon be turning frightful, so department-store retailers J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and Macy’s are preparing their merchandise to provide shoppers with the optimal warmth for the tops of their beds.
Recently, HFN visited the J.C. Penney store in Rockaway, N.J., the Kohl’s location in Morris Plains, N.J., and the Macy’s in the Short Hills Mall in Short Hills, N.J., to tour their winter-bedding assortments.
All three of the major department stores have segregated their winter-bedding assortments with wall displays, bed displays and floor fixtures. While none of them call attention to such merchandise categories as down comforters, down-alternative comforters, blankets, flannel sheet sets and throws as bed textiles specifically for winter, they do keep them together on the floor to plant the seed in the shopper’s mind that these items could help them beat the cold. All three retailers offer these categories adjacent to their basic-bedding items, underscoring their relationship to bed pillows and mattress pads.
The J.C. Penney store presents flannel sheet sets, down comforters and down-alternative comforters on a floor-to-ceiling wall fixture, where they share space with bed pillows. The comforter/flannel/pillow wall totals 54 running feet.
This department is across the racetrack aisle from the store’s decorative bed ensembles, and further along the aisle is the window-treatment section. Fronting the department along the aisle are two display beds, one for down products and one for down-alternative products, with comforters layered upon them.
All of the merchandise is branded under the retailer’s J.C. Penney Home label, except for one end cap on a floor fixture that offers Sealy Heated Plush Throws. Within the J.C. Penney Home brand, the retailer segments its comforters, both down and down-alternative, as 3-star, 4-star and 5-star. J.C. Penney distinguishes these levels based on the thread count of the covers and, in the case of the natural down-filled comforters, the fill power of the down.
The Kohl’s store has a less-organized presentation with down-alternative comforters, blankets, flannel sheet sets and throws on small-run floor fixtures adjacent to the store’s decorative bedding and basic bedding.
As with J.C. Penney, the brands are Kohl’s own: Home Classics for down-alternative comforters; cotton, vellux and plush blankets; flannel sheet sets; fleece sheet sets and down-alternative throws; and The Big One for microfleece blankets. The down-alternative comforters share a fixture with mattress pads. Flannel sets, down-alternative throws, blankets and fleece sets share one small fixture, with the flannel sets and fleece sets each on one end cap.
Highlighting the Macy’s winter-bedding area is the down-comforter wall, a floor-to-ceiling fixture adjacent to the bed-pillow wall. The words “down comforters” are in the center of the top shelf of the wall. The merchandise here is all under the Charter Club Home label, and offers various levels of down comforters, including Quilted Diamond, Damask Stripe, Damask Dot, Vail Elite, Tuxedo Stripe and Geometric Damask.
The department also features separate floor fixtures for Sosoft Plush Blankets, Martha Stewart Collection down-alternative comforters (under the secondary label Allergy Wise) and Charter Club Home down blankets. Martha Stewart Collection blankets share a fixture with Ralph Lauren blankets; the latter are branded as Estate Cotton By Ralph Lauren.
In the front of the department, along the racetrack aisle, are two display beds for down comforters, one for the Hotel Collection and one for Charter Club Home. The former is layered with light-, medium- and extra-weight down comforters and includes down-filled pillows. The Charter Club Home bed has comforters layered on it and a sign in front that describes the six levels of down comforters available under this brand. The levels start at a comforter with 525 fill power and a 250 thread-count cotton cover, and range up to the top level, which has 600 fill power and a 400 thread-count cotton cover.