VENTURE REVAMPS ITS IMAGE

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Venture Stores will deliver a new identity to consumers in an ad campaign starting this month.

The struggling 105-store regional chain will spend an estimated $6 million to $8 million this year.

Venture began a $42 million renovation program in December to reposition itself as a family/value department store, abandoning its 25-year-old discount image.

STIFF COMPETITION

The Midwestern and Southern retailer is trying to stay afloat among increasing competition from giant retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores and Dayton Hudson Corp.'s Target Stores.

For February, Venture's sales fell 16.1% from the same period the year before. Comparable store sales declined by 18.3% during the month.

"Our goal is to bridge the gap between the discount and department-store segments," said Cliff Campeau, senior VP-marketing. "What we want is a larger share of the customer's shopping time."

Venture's merchandise will be evenly split between soft and hard lines.

IN-STORE SHOPS ADDED

To make the stores easier to shop in, Venture has created 12 "destination" in-store shops; the merchandising strategy is built around family apparel, home and leisure.

The new advertising, the first for Venture from W.B. Doner & Co., Southfield, Mich., began with four 15-second teaser TV spots that broke March 3.

Following the teasers, four 30-second spots starting this week will carry the theme line, "See what's new for you."

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