Yes Martha, Kmart Does Have Another Home Products Line

Jan 21, 2005

By George Anderson

A report in the Detroit News says Kmart is rolling out a new line of home products, such as towels, bed sheets, etc., without the Martha Stewart name attached.

The line, called Essential Home, replaces another Kmart store brand with a similar name, Home Essentials.

The new products, which will roll out next month, are not intended to compete directly with Ms. Stewart’s Everyday collection but there will be overlap according to the report.

The Martha Stewart Everyday collection is the chain’s most successful line, generating more than five percent of Kmart’s sales.

Some, such as Jeff Green, a retail analyst with Jeff Green Partners, sees Essential Home filling a different design niche than the Everyday line. “Martha has a huge following for more classic type of merchandise, so Kmart’s merchandise (Essential Home) has got to be trendier.”

Robert Passikoff, president of the consumer research firm Brand Keys Inc., says Kmart is making the right choice for its business with the Essential Home introduction. “It’s dangerous to rely on just Martha Stewart,” he said. “Kmart has to refresh their line if they want to be competitive in this category.”

Moderator’s Comment: Does Kmart need its own home products brand when the Martha Stewart Everyday Line is so closely associated with the retail chain?

George Whalin, president of Retail Management Consultants (and RetailWire BrainTrust panelist) thinks so. He told the Detroit News, “Not everybody
wants to buy Martha Stewart. Retailers today have to have their own proprietary brands.”

George Anderson – Moderator

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