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MASS MERCHANDISING; TARGET IS USING A RANGE OF PROMOTIONS AND ADDED SIGNAGE TO HELP DRAW CONSUMERS TO ITS FURNITURE SELECTION.

Byline: Karl Kunkel

HIGH POINT, N.C.-The furniture sections at the Target stores in High Point and Greensboro, N.C., have enjoyed a notable upgrade in selection, space categories, signs and promotion.

Don't expect to see many furniture brands at Target: The emphasis is squarely on presenting furnishings as part of the Target name.

The Greensboro store, for example, devoted about seven aisles to furniture, including items such as kitchen furniture, lamps and mirrors. All of the furniture was ready-to-assemble in boxed form or hinged, foldable furniture -- also boxed and ready for a consumer to tote away either by himself or with the help of a sales associate.

In virtually all cases, display models of the furniture were on the upper shelf, chest-high, with the lower shelves used for the boxed items.

Endcaps generally held accent furniture, boxed, that was on sale, such as the Sauder Qbits stackable storage boxes for $29.99.

Sauder Woodworking Co., the largest RTA furniture manufacturer in the United States, does not appear to have as much of a presence here as it did in the past. Except for the Qbits items at this store, all of the furniture offered was KD Basics and Furio, both private-label brands, or Renovations, a Thomasville Furniture Industries product line.

New signs are among the most obvious changes. The stores continued to employ their large blue-and-white "Furniture" sign near the ceiling as a directional beacon.

But two new features are "Restore & Restyle" and category collection signs, each displayed above the gondolas. The Restore & Restyle signs featured photos of young people, indicating that much of the furniture would be suitable for teenagers and those in dorm rooms. That sign appeared to support a general "try doing this yourself" concept rather than promoting a particular brand. However, some boxed dorm-type furniture items, such as bookshelves, have begun appearing on shelves under the "Restore & Restyle Kids" logo.

Target has begun a push toward promoting categories of furniture based on room and use, such as "The Bedroom Collection" or "The Accent Collection." An entire side of an aisle or more may be used for that category with the sign prominently placed above it showing some of the choices. "The Home Office Collection" sign, for example, also shows signs of "Mission," "Cape Cod" and "Monroe" depicting those as styles.

Target has also been promoting furniture in other departments. "They've begun cross-merchandising," said one furniture manufacturer. He noted that Target places certain RTA home furnishings, usually storage pieces, in other sections of the store.

The bathroom supplies department, for example, has an ample number of private-label Bath Basics RTA wall cabinets ($19.99), storage towers ($29.99) and other units.

A nearby aisle housed the Restore & Restyle Kids furniture in maple or white finishes. Some of the items are RTA and others are preassembled. A bookcase cost $69.99, while a small bookshelf cost $29.98.

Still another section, "Home Improvement," features a huge assortment and display of private-label "Organize-It" stackable, storage organizers, storage chests and two-drawer units in both particleboard or wire mesh. This department has a great deal of colorful signs, including photos of the merchandise in use. A two-drawer unit costs $22.99, a toy storage chest is $29.99. A three-tier wire storage unit cost $14.99.

"They are competing against each other," the furniture manufacturer said. He also noticed a step-up in Target's promotions of furniture in its newspaper inserts, adding that price has become an important draw. "Everything is getting cheaper," he said.

Caption(s): Target's furniture section offers descriptive, high-profile signs. / Casual dining for the kitchen includes stools and kitchen islands. / Left: The bedroom category features multidrawer chests in various finishes. / Below: Rattan and traditional finishes are available for home office and entertainment centers.
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Author:Kunkel, Karl
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 20, 2004
Words:627
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