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Licensing has been critical to home for a long time, but its role is sometimes blurred. Still, the launch and expansion of new product lines signals that licensed product is among the most dynamic areas of home fashions.
But there are licenses and there are licenses. Some have as much to do with the retailer as the licensor, particularly when they represent a new and proprietary label within a class of trade. Others reflect a look or sensibility that is distinct whether available at a single retailer or across a whole range of stores. Whatever the case, licenses bring both a fashionability and a distinct point of view that helps retailers stake a particular claim.
Both Target and Linens 'N Things have staked out Waverly, for example, and both say they've established a strong, if independent, position with the brand. The two retailers offer very different price points each appropriate to its trade class, as well as unique designs. "The Waverly we carry is made exclusively for us," noted Audrey Schlaepfer, chief merchandising officer of …