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Clover strong in bath, kitchen.

PHILADELPHIA--A recent stroll through the domestics department of the new Clover store here revealed an impressive display of bath coordinates and kitchen coordinates, but little total kitchentable coordination.

In the kitchen shop (one of four shops constituting the domestics department; the other three being bath, bedding and home decor), a 16-foot run of kitchen coordinates starts with Ritz basics in solids and woven plaids. There are four color stories: natural, rose, blue and hunter.

Those basics are interspersed with printed kitchen coordinates from several other suppliers so customers can mix and match solids and prints. The wall above the run features five kitchen ensembles, showing all the component parts, as well as reverse patterns, where applicable. The products include an apron, oven mitt, washcloth, kitchen towel and tie towel.

Featured patterns are Verdura, a vegetable pattern of turnips, carrots and beans on a black-and-white check ground, from Hedayah Bros.' Kitchen Gallery collection; Cappuccino from Hope Valley, R.I.-based Kay Dee Designs' Gourmet collection, and three from Cecil Saydah: Indian Corn--ears of corn--from the Casa Grande Southwestern group; Hopscotch--fruit on a blue check ground--a Pfaltzgraff license, and a pattern from the Sycamore Cottage country collection.

Steve Morando, national sales manager for Kay Dee, said Clover does a "super job merchandising kitchen textiles. When they want to highlight something, they put it on an endcap, which most stores do not do. Last year, they did our Halloween pattern on an endcap and did a ton of business."

Morando said Clover's Barry Fritchman, who buys kitchen textiles, among other things, is "one of the most knowledable buyers in the industry. He's very trendy. He knows what's going. We ask him what's hot. When he talks, we listen."

In addition to open stock items, Clover had a free-standing fixture of four-piece sets from Best Brands in nine patterns. The sets, including kitchen towel, dishcloth, pot holder and magnet, retailed for $3.99.

"We've been very successful with Clover," said Margo Mills, design director for Best Brands. "They really like the coordinated kitchen set look and our our price points and colorways have done well for them."

Coordinated sets, continued Mills, are a big classification for discounters. "It's a value issue. When we put it all together and package it as one unit, they're getting good value."

There is no optimal number of components in a set. "'That varies from market to market and store to store," said Mills. "The key is hitting the magic price point. And we think we've figured that out through trial and error."

Thee was also a fixture devoted to extra-wide, doublepocket, heavy aprons from Ritz, as well several aprons from Barth & Dreyfuss.

The only tablekitchen coordination in evidence was on an endcap showing a sunflower pattern. Products included vinyl and cloth tablecoths, place mats and aprons, etc. from Town & Country and Barth & Dreyfuss. Accent rugs were supplied by Glenoit Mills and stool covers and window toppers were from San Marcos, Cal.-based R.M. Industries.

Meanwhile, the bath department featured six vignettes on the wall and several more on endcaps in the front. Featured patterns on the wall included Brandywine and Mandalay from Creative Bath; Botanical and Classic Mickey from Saturday Knight; and Tuscany, a Springs pattern from its Andre Richard line.

To offer customers complementary rather than simply matchy-matchy looks, Clover pulled together products from different suppliers. The wall vignettes included solid-color towels from Cannon and Stevens, such as red and white towels to go with Classic Mickey and hunter and beige towels to go with Brandywine.

And endcap coordinated a celestial pattern from Famous, with blue glass accessories from Park B. Smith and embellished towels, in navy and white, from J. Abouchar.

Other featured ensembles included a floral shower curtain from Jakson, shown with ceramic accessories from Springs; Big Sky, a Southwestern design from Springs; Splendor from Ex-Cell, shown with coordinating window valance, accessories, and embellished towels; and Ameri, geometric from Saturday Knight, shown with faux rosewood accessories from another supplier.
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Author:Adler, Sam
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:Sep 25, 1995
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