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SPIEGEL REPOSITIONS FOR NEW MILLENNIUM

NEW YORK-In a move to revitalize its brand name and position itself as a lifestyle leader, Spiegel is launching a cross-category catalog this fall that is heavily skewed to home furnishings.

John W. Irvin, chief executive at the catalog company, expects home furnishings to account for 65 percent of the catalog's total volume. The catalog, Elements, combines apparel with a broad range of home furnishings -- from furniture to picture frames.

"We haven't had a fully integrated program until now," said Irvin, noting a desire to "recapture market share."

Irene Wilson, vice president of trend forecasting and consumer behavior for Spiegel, added that Spiegel's goal is to be the lifestyle resource for the working woman.

"We want to show that what [the consumer] wears is not different from how she lives," she said.

Nedra Fabito, product development director of Elements, said that in creating the collection, "we started with the materials and worked from the bottom up, instead of beginning with style and working down."

The design team for Elements used color, texture and raw materials "to create a seamless integration of home and apparel product," according to the company, for example, by using the same fabrications in apparel and home textiles.

Moreover, Elements goes one step further by offering chenille and mohair fabrics for the home and also developing traditional apparel designs for home furnishings and accessories such as a cable knit bedcover. Retail prices range from $18 for a bamboo placemat to $1,398 for a velvet sofa on wheels, but the bulk of the products retail between $48 and $248.

In creating the collection, Spiegel surveyed its customers and culled information from outside sources such as the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) to find out what women want today when shopping for apparel and home.

According to the AAAA:

* 80 percent of women today influence purchasing decisions;

* 75 percent handle family finances;

* 66 percent of those surveyed make home improvement decisions and 13 percent do the work themselves;

* 50 percent of all mothers with kids under the age of one are working, and;

* 60 percent classify in-store shopping as a negative experience.

But perhaps most significant of all, respondents said they wished they could find everything they need to make their lives more livable in one place. In response to these and other findings (see chart) Spiegel developed Elements to be beautiful, but also casual and straightforward, according to Wilson. "We concentrated on ease and comfort, mobility and individuality," she said.

For example, only 2.7 percent of respondents said they use their dining rooms for entertainment, but roughly half use them for work. At the same time, 61 percent of Spiegel customers use an entire room or part of a room as a home office. Spiegel concluded there's a continued opportunity for home office products. Spiegel has dubbed this opportunity Work Spaces as part of its "rooms without walls" concept.

Rooms without walls means people using the same spaces to serve many functions. The concept calls for products that are portable, packable and have wheels, such as the company's new sofa and ottoman; and products that are fashionable and usable in different settings. This also includes furniture that stacks and folds, such as Spiegel's new stackable drawers, said Wilson.

The first Elements catalog will be mailed in mid-September to more than 2 million customers. "We intend for this to be high frequency," said Irvin, which "could mean putting out as many as six catalogs per season."

Women Want Mobility and Versatility

...Rooms without walls

...No more changing wardrobes from spring to fall

...Spaces that serve many functions

...Furniture that stacks, folds, or has wheels

...Timeless design/modern classics

SOURCE: SPIEGEL

SPIEGEL CUSTOMERS: HOW THEY LIVE

HOME OFFICES

61% of Spiegel customers use an entire room or part of a room as a home office

34% use a PC at home for non-business

32% use a PC at home for business

DINING ROOMS

2.7% use the dining room regularly to entertain

In Spiegel customers' dining rooms:

57% have a telephone

21% have an answering machine

13% have a computer

STORAGE PURCHASES*

17% bought storage items for kitchen

37% bought storage items for family room

12% bought storage items for closets

*Wall shelves, shelving units, armoires

SOURCE: SPIEGEL
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Comment:Spiegal launches Elements, a catalog that is anbout 65%-comprised of home furnishings
Author:Werner, Holly M.
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Article Type:Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 28, 1998
Words:711
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