By David Gill
Last month saw the grand openings of Lord & Taylor Home’s first two stores, in Paramus and Shrewsbury, N.J.—marking what could be the most dramatic development in the home specialty-retail segment in many years.
The Paramus Lord & Taylor Home is located adjacent to the full-line Lord & Taylor department store in the Fashion Center mall. The Shrewsbury store sits three miles away from the Lord & Taylor store in the Monmouth Mall. Both stores measure about 22,900 square feet.
The merchandise on offer encompasses a variety of product categories in housewares, home textiles and tabletop. The new format is being positioned as somewhat upscale from Bed Bath & Beyond.
“Lord & Taylor Home is a natural extension of the Lord & Taylor brand because it is about style, inspiration, color and entertaining,” said Brendan Hoffman, president and CEO of Lord & Taylor. “The product offering is high-quality, trend-right merchandise for the kitchen, bedding and bath categories.”
Several upscale elements are clearly present in the Paramus store. While some of the fixturing resembles Bed Bath & Beyond’s rack shelving, other sections—most notably the bath and tabletop areas—are fixtured in cherry-stained wood.
In addition, Lord & Taylor Home features what Fritz Winans, president and chief operating officer of specialty retail and global sourcing for Hudson’s Bay Trading Co. (HBTC), Lord & Taylor’s parent, described as “environments.” In the Paramus store, the tabletop area features two large sections in the cherry-stained wood with displays on the top shelves and merchandise underneath. One of these sections is devoted to dinnerware and the other to drinkware. Each has product displays on the top shelves, brightly lit so that the merchandise actually glows, and has the merchandise on the lower shelves.
“To me, it’s about the environment,” Winans said in an interview with HFN. “The whole architecture of the store is good-better-best. We wanted the richness of the cherry-stained wood and pops of white in tabletop, which creates the environment of dining and entertaining.”
Cherry-stained wood shelving is also found in the bath, window-treatment and housewares sections. Bath and window have U-shaped layouts with shower curtains and curtain panels hanging on the wood fixtures. In bath, the curtains surround a number of floor fixtures with accessories.
The racks are to be found in the decorative-bedding and basic bedding departments. In decorative bedding, these racks surround vignettes of bed ensembles. The basic-bedding section features the racks surrounding dump bins of bed pillows and mattress pads. The decorative section also includes a floor-to-ceiling pillar fixture presenting, ironically, Linens ’n Things branded sheet sets.
The housewares section is on two sides of an aisle to the left of the Paramus store’s entrance. On the left are sections offering cookware, cutlery and storage products—all three in the same layout as the bath area. Wood fixturing offers product displays and merchandise, and surrounds floor fixtures with more merchandise, in these sections. Opposite these areas is a long run of kitchen gadgets on hanging fixtures, overlooking floor fixtures with more gadgets.
The concept of the Lord & Taylor Home store arose from HBTC’s Home Outfitters, a Canadian home specialty store, which has about 70 stores across Canada. “As a company, we felt there was an opportunity to more fully serve our customers by offering them great products for the home,” Hoffman said. “We also saw an opportunity to take advantage of some vacant retail space from closed stores in working with some of our real-estate partners.”
Home Outfitters served as the template for Lord & Taylor Home. The latter “is an evolved concept from Home Outfitters,” Winans said. “The shopping environment, the color story, the layout and even some of the brand offerings reflect what you find in Home Outfitters.”
The demise of the aforementioned Linens ’n Things also opened the door for Lord & Taylor Home. “Linens ’n Things’ closure left a void,” Winans said. “Bed Bath & Beyond has done extremely well, so we felt there was an opportunity for another player.”
Now that the first two Lord & Taylor Home stores have come along to fill that void (at least partially), HBTC is at the drawing board for other locations. “We entered into this initially as a test,” Winans said. “We’re now considering a third location, but we’re not sure yet about the location. But we want to get the wind in our backs before we plan definitely on other locations. If this works, we could have a couple of hundred.”