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An inside look at top retailers and the consumers they covet

Three warehouse sales this week and next: Pottery Barn and Stroke/Heart's last sale

Three warehouse sales are happening this week and next--Pottery Barn/Williams-Sonoma and Stroke of the Heart greeting cards.

Pottery Barn will have its warehouse sale Oct. 11-14. All merchandise will be 50 to 75 percent off, including furniture, rugs, bedding, pillow covers, botanicals and seasonal merchandise. All items, including furniture, must be picked up on day of purchase. The sale is in a space next to Pottery Barn at Shoppes at Arbor Lakes at I-94 and Hemlock Lane in Maple Grove.

Williams-Sonoma, part of the same company as Pottery Barn and also in Arbor Lakes, has a similar sale with new markdowns and closeouts. It's being held in space B18, near the Williams-Sonoma store during the same hours as the Pottery Barn sale. 


Stroke of the Heart, a 35 year old Twin Cities-based company, is having its last warehouse sale Oct. 17-20. It is closing its doors due to the owner's retirement and declining sales of greeting cards. "It's a hard business to be in as more people use social media and emailing to stay in contact," said Kristin Noraker, chief operating officer. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thurs.-Sat. and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sun. 

The company's main lines of cards have been sympathy, serious illness, get well, encouragement and pet loss. Many of those card themes, all designed and made in Minnesota, were inspired by Noraker's mom Kevyn Riley, the founder and co-owner. Riley is a registered nurse and a cancer survivor.

The sale, larger than previous ones, will include mostly cards and not as many ancillary products such as kitchen magnets. All greeting cards will be 50 cents. The sale is at a new location at 10136 W. 76th St., Eden Prairie, 952-945-9495. Hours are noon to 8 p.m. Oct. 17-18., noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 19., and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 20. 

Target launches new essentials brand

Target has another new brand, this time for inexpensive household essentials such as hand soap, cleaners and razors.

Smartly items will range in price from 59 cents to $11.99, with most under $2. They will be available starting Sunday, Oct. 14.

Target has launched over 20 brands in the past few years.

"The introduction of Smartly is another example of how we are listening to consumers and bringing them solutions to make their lives easier," said Mark Trittion, chief merchandising officer, in a statement. 

Tritton told the Wall Street Journal that Smartly products also will be sold in small quantities, such as a single paper towel roll, and aimed at Gen-Z and millennial shoppers such as college students and 20-somethings.

In that way, the brand is not meant to replace household names such as tide, but research has shown that younger consumers are not as loyal to brands.

Target said it has not skimped on the development process even if the items are inexpensive. For example, designers worked with master perfumers to develop frangrances such as Rain Shower and Lavender for liquid hand soaps and Ocean and Citrus Grove for cleaners.