Bed Bath & Beyond: Rita Little

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Rita Little, VP-marketing at Bed Bath & Beyond, isn't vocal about what she's doing, but she must be doing it right. As competitors such as Lechter's and Homeplace of America fall by the wayside, the home-products shop saw a 30% sales surge in 2000 and will open 80 franchise stores this fiscal year.

In the company's Long Island buying office, Ms. Little taps into new markets and expands existing ones.

Stephen VonOehsen, a principal with A.T. Kearney in consumer industries and retail practices, likens a Bed Bath & Beyond experience to visiting a dozen or so well-stocked specialty stores within a larger store. "It takes shoppers beyond their shopping lists," he said. "They get you to come in and buy the low-margin items-that's the bed and bath part-and then once you're there, they get you to buy the high-margin impulse items-that's the beyond part."

And like a wise marketer, Ms. Little covers multiple demographics. Its e-commerce site, which replicates an in-store shopping experience, won an Advertising Age Best Award in 2000.

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