Friday, December 02, 2011

Restoration Hardware Closing

The Restoration Hardware store in The Mall is closing. The upscale home furnishings and accessories store that was never really about hardware came to Columbia in 2000 with the opening of Nordstrom.

Almost from its inception, the retailer struggled financially, finally teetering on the edge of bankruptcy in 2008 before being taken private by Catterhorn Partners. Recently the company has been shuttering its mall stores and shifting to larger stand alone stores and repositioning the brand. They are moving from selling items like Super Hero in Box to high end design. According to this story by Tom Vanderbilt in The Wall Street Journal, Gary Friedman, the CEO, “now envisions Restoration as a kind of "open platform," an app store for home decor, where the likes of London furniture maker and antiques dealer Timothy Oulton and the Midwestern/Dutch pair of Mark Sage and Rudi Nijssen can craft new pieces out of old things, artisanal objects pitched somewhere between mall sameness and Design Center uniqueness.”

“Rather than hedging, he says, the company doubled down. "We said, 'Let's forget about the customer for a minute,' " Friedman says. "I don't mean that in an arrogant way. We believe that great brands don't chase customers, customers chase great brands." While everybody was "screaming value," Restoration went the other direction. "In bad economic times," argues Friedman, "quality becomes even more important, uniqueness becomes even more important—people need to be inspired to buy something."
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