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Linens 'n lamps? Chain said to plan lighting expansion.

CLIFTON, N.J. - Linens 'n Things will test a prototype of an expanded lamp department in at least two of its stores, according to vendors.

If the tests in Bridgewater, N.J., and Duluth, Ga., near Atlanta, are successful the chain with estimated annual sales of $350 million will roll out larger lamp departments in most of its 150 stores across the country, vendors said.

Linens 'n Things declined to comment.

In the New Jersey test store, furniture was cleared to make room for the lighting department, which will include decorative wood and iron table lamps and contemporary halogen floor lamps to retail between $9.99 and $89.99, according to a sales associate. Previously, Linens 'n Things' lamp business has consisted largely of candlestick lamps and shades that coordinate with sheets and comforters merchandised in a mix-and-match program along one wall with the linens, vendors said. The company also has run periodic promotions of halogen torchieres.

"We're enlarging our lamp department within the month," said a sales associate at the Bridgewater store. "We're cutting back on furniture and putting in more lamps. Lamps sell a lot better."

According to the sales associate, the Bridgewater store was expecting a variety of decorative lamps, including floor models that the store had not previously carried.

"It's nice, because a lot of people have been asking for floor lamps. You have to give the customer more of what they're asking for," the associate said.

A sales associate in the Duluth, Ga., store said that the corporate headquarters had not made her aware of an expanded department. "They are doing some construction in the framed art department adjacent to the lamp department, but I don't know what that's for."

Some of Linens 'n Things' current vendors, including L.A. Concepts and Adesso Lighting, say they have received larger orders from the chain.

Adesso Lighting, for example, which had supplied just one item, received an order for a variety of decorative contemporary halogen desk and floor lamps, an executive said.

L.A. Concepts has a big back-to-school program slated with the chain and has seen a major expansion of fashion shades, an executive said.

"They're putting in a big, big program," said Ken Kallett, national sales manager for L.A. Concepts.

"Lighting and accessories are a growth category for them. They're on a fairly good growth path."

Lee Schaak, chairman of Adesso Lighting, said, "They are recognizing the opportunity as they see the huge commitment other people in the category are making to it." According to Schaak, several bed and bath chains are developing their lighting businesses.

Among current lighting vendors, Alsy Lighting supplies Linens 'n Things with lamps and shades that coordinate with Waverly merchandise.

Robert Abbey supplies lamps that coordinate with a number of lines, including Laura Ashley, Sheridan, Crown Crafts, Hollander and others.

Vendors said the expansion is a great credit to buyer Marty Johnson, who they say has recognized the margin opportunities in lamps and has been urging management to enlarge the department.

"They've been talking about expanding for a long time," commented Michael Dene, president of L.A. Concepts. "It's just a question of when.

"We're a core vendor with them. We do all their accent ceramics, promotional torchieres and other items," Dene said. L.A. Concepts holds the license to make lamp shades that coordinate with patterns from Wamsutta and other mills.

For back to school, L.A. Concepts has prepared a program for the chain that includes clip lights, floor lamps and combination packs in several colors.

"We do a lot of custom work for Linens 'n Things," Dene said. Square and round accent lamps in several color ways, a promotional $9.99 acrylic home office desk lamp, and incandescent and halogen torchieres in several colors to retail between $14 and $24.99 are among the items L.A. Concepts sells to Linens 'n Things.
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Title Annotation:Linen n' Things
Author:Meyer, Nancy
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:Jul 10, 1995
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