STORE SPACES

Off-price giant details new store concept

BY Marianne Wilson

The TJX Companies will debut a new, off-price home store concept in August.

HomeSense will open its initial U.S. location on August 17, in Framingham, Mass. Three additional stores are planned by the end of 2017, with locations in East Hanover, N.J., Ocean Township, N.J., and Westwood, Mass.

The HomeSense banner is not new for TJX, which operates stores under that name in Europe and Canada. However, the HomeSense U.S. concept will be different from those stores, with a greater depth of merchandise in certain categories.

HomeSense will offer a shopping experience that complements its sister chain, HomeGoods, TJX said, with expanded selections of large-scale furniture, lighting fixtures and art. It will also feature a “general store” department. HomeGoods, by comparision, skews more heavily to decor.

Also, unlike HomeGood’s no-frills approach to display and layout, HomeSense stores will put more of an emphasis on ambience and will showcase products in styled vignettes with an eye to inspriring shoppers.

Here are more details about Homesense:

*It will offer a broad assortment of furniture items, such as oversized upholstery, sectionals and sofas, futons and day beds, as well as leather furniture and expanded at-home workplace essentials, such as desks, and filing cabinets.

*Accent décor will be “conceptually displayed.” A variety of hanging chandeliers and brightly lit lamps, for example, will be displayed individually in dedicated cubbies so that shoppers can picture how the items would look in their own home. A chair gallery will feature everything from dining chairs to bar stools as well as pillows, poufs and ottomans of different sizes and shapes.

*Expansive displays of art will be mounted for gallery-style shopping. Free-standing fixtures and oversized easels will complement the in-store gallery wall and help customers visualize how the items could fit in their spaces.

*Entertaining options for holidays and other special occasions will be emphasized. This could include bar and game room furniture, such as card tables and pool tables, and an expanded selection of gifting items and wrapping essentials.

*The general store area will be dedicated to organization, cleaning and home improvement.

“Just as our customers enjoy shopping both TJ Maxx and Marshalls, we are confident that loyal customers and new shoppers alike will be excited about shopping both Homesense and HomeGoods,” said John Ricciuti, president of HomeGoods and Homesense in the U.S. “As the U.S. home market continues to grow, we are excited to bring consumers an expanded selection of quality merchandise at incredible prices, along with a new shopping experience in which they can discover and curate the home of their dreams.”

As of April 29, 2017, TJX operated over 3,800 stores including TJ Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods and Sierra Trading Post stores in the United States; Winners, HomeSense and Marshalls stores in Canada; TK Maxx and Homesense stores; and TK Maxx stores in Australia.

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Leader in secondhand luxury retail trying out brick-and-mortar

BY By Marianne Wilson

Online luxury consignment retailer The RealReal is taking its resale model into the physical space.

The retailer plans to open its first-ever permanent retail location in November, in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood, reported Women's Wear daily. The two-level, 8,000-sq.-ft. store will showcase items from all of The RealReal's categories and also feature contemporary artwork and a wall of Hermès bags, according to the report. It will host classes and discussions.

The RealReal made its first foray into brick-and-mortar retailing last December, opening a holiday pop-up in SoHo. Founded in 2011, the San Francisco-based company recently closed on $50 million in growth funding from private equity firm Great Hill Partners, bringing its total funding to $173 million.

The site boasts five million users, has sold four million items to date, and is expected to surpass $500 million in revenue this year.

Although it started out selling apparel, it now also sells jewelry and fine watches. The RealReal stands out in the resale market due to a rigorous authentication process that it uses to weed out fake luxury goods and authenticate the price of its goods.

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Subway gives itself a makeover — with tech updates

BY By Marianne Wilson

Subway is debuting a new look.

On Monday, the fast-casual restaurant chain unveiled a new store design intended to provide a more distinctive and welcoming customer experience. The new "fresh forward" design, by FRCH Design Worldwide, includes a bright color palette, inspired by the hues of fresh vegetables, wall decor that communicates the brand's emphasis on quality ingredients, and more contemporary-looking seating. It also features such tech enhancements, such as self-ordering digital kiosks.

"We've created a modern design that gives our guests choices – from how they order, to how they pick up their food, to how they enjoy their meal," said Trevor Haynes, VP of operations at Subway, which operates more than 44,800 franchised locations.

Highlights of the redesign include:

Digital: Self-order kiosks in select locations, digital menu boards and, as always, Apple and Samsung Pay options. A separate food preparation area and a designated pre-order pick-up location for kiosk, mobile app, delivery, catering and bot for Messenger orders allow for a speedy customer experience.

Dine-In Experience: Bright and playful décor, curated music, and comfortable seating with USB charging ports and complimentary Wi-Fi create a welcoming environment.

Food: Fresh veggie display with whole tomatoes, green peppers, onions and cucumbers that are sliced daily, plus new bread and cookie displays on the front of the line.

Subway debuted its new "fresh forward design" in nine pilot locations in the United States, including four in Florida (Tamarac, Winter Park, and two in Orlando), along with two in Canada and one in the United Kingdom.

Subway's new design will be featured in all future locations and remodels starting this year, with the majority of remodels to begin in 2018, reported CNBC. About 85 locations in North America are in the process of rolling out the new format, the report stated.

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