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Creative Leisure News
306 Parker Circle
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: 785-760-5071
Email: mike@clnonline.com


 


A view of the industry through the eyes of a chain buyer.

Printer Version

The New Wal-Mart Superstore 

The craft/sewing department remains about the same, with some major exceptions.

by Brenda Lugannani (April 3, 2006)

(Note: The new concept Wal-Mart in Plano, Texas has attracted enormous media attention because it is designed to attract higher-income shoppers. The 217,000 sq. ft. store t features higher-end electronics, gourmet groceries, fine jewelry, expensive wines, microbrewery beers, an espresso bar, free wireless Internet service, and yes, a sushi bar. The immediate question for CLN readers, of course, is what happened to the craft/sewing department? Brenda Lugannani, a former VP at Michaels and one of the industry's top consultants, walked the store and filed this report.)

Here's a general overview: No fabric, sewing machines in about 16 feet, kids crafts exactly the same as current superstore, yarn reduced to 16 feet (about a third of the typical department), and 32 feet of sewing notions. The card section is gorgeous, higher-end like Target Ė Carlton, American Greetings, etc., and the wrap and bag selection is spectacular. There is a beautiful home dec section at front of store on new fixtures that highlight floral containers, candles, etc. There is a trend section on the outside racetrack gondola of the home dec section looks just like Targetís "shabby chic" section.

Crafts/Sewing.

As you walk in the "home" side of the store, the natural racetrack is to the left. When you turn left there is a row of seasonal decor products and plush and Easter. Then you see the Book department with featured vignettes of books; the Card department; the Stationery department; and the Kids Crayola and Art department.

The Crafts section begins with Sewing and Yarn, then Kids, then General and Decorative Art, then Scrapbooking; next is Seasonal. So the Card, Stationery, Kids, Craft scenario in this store is a replica of the Target adjacencies. However, Targetís seems to make more sense.

In the craft area, the Kids department has not been expanded, and Scrapbooking looks exactly the same, including all the clearance tags on the open-stock paper section. Jewelry is exactly the same and General Crafts and Decorative Art looks unchanged to me. Yarn is down by 2/3s and there is no fabric, but the store retained 32í of Sewing Notions and 16' of Sewing Machines. The Floral and Floral Accessories department looks the same as a typical superstore.

Regarding other departments: Signage for every department is visible from the front entrance. The Electronics department is very big and upscale. Clothing looks the same to me. Wine in the food section seems to be the only area that is significantly different from a regular superstore

There is 32' of framing in the Home Decor department. The department is done in "stories" by palette or theme or design look. So there is a blue/green story, a black/white story, and a neutrals story. The merchandise mix is very current.

Conclusion: While the store looks like a Target, when you touch the towels, they still feel itchy. If you were blind you would have no doubt you were still in Wal-Mart.

(Note: Brenda is truly one of the industry's top consultants. Her email is lugannani@comcast.net and her phone is 469-441-0944.)

xxx  

 

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