A view of the industry through the
eyes of a chain buyer.
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.
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
and her phone is 469-441-0944.)