Meijer investing in softlines to augment a one-stop shop experience

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer is perhaps best known for the freshness it offers in the grocery aisles, but more and more Meijer customers will now look across the center aisle for bright colors, geometric patterns and advice thanks to a major initiative to upgrade its apparel offerings, the retailer announced Wednesday.

"Restyling our fashion offerings is not only great for our customers, who are searching for on-trend fashion items at the right price, but it also enhances the Meijer promise of a one-stop shopping experience," Peter Whitsett, EVP merchandising and marketing Meijer, said. "We knew our investment was sound over the holiday season when apparel realized a nearly 20% increase in sales."

Meijer and its style team unveiled this fresh approach in the fall through the distribution of a Fashion Look Book, social media and a new website,, that focused on inspiring customers to create the look that fits both their style and wallet. The Meijer style team is led by Lynn Hempe, the retailer's group VP softlines, and includes her buying team and input from fashion advisor, Mariana Keros, who has tracked the nation's fashion trends for more than 20 years.

"We want our customers to know that we are serious about offering the most up-to-date fashion in our stores," Hempe said. "Our goal is to find that just-right mix where affordability and on-trend fashion inspire our customers to recognize opportunities to update their day-to-day style."

The efforts have not gone unnoticed, elevating the retailer's potential to compete with national retailers in this space, said Edward Nakfoor, an independent retail consultant based in Birmingham, Mich.

"Meijer is taking substantial steps to expand and upgrade its fashion offerings as evidenced by the variety of on-trend merchandise. The creation of its dedicated fashion website and social media activities can greatly enhance these in-store efforts," Nakfoor said. "The key, though, will be for Meijer merchants and marketers to solidify its presence in the seasons ahead, allowing it to become a true challenger to the well-entrenched competitors in this space."

Meijer will expand its focus on apparel this year with regional advertising in national fashion magazines, including Marie Claire, Harper's Bazaar, InStyle, Cosmopolitan and Elle, as well as the distribution of another Look Book that will feature spring trends.



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