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Restoration to realize new vision

After months of discussing its new strategy, Restoration Hardware, Corte Madera, CA, will see its new vision become realized next month when remodeled and remerchandised stores will be unveiled, as well as the newly designed catalog and website.

Along with updated fixturing and layouts, the stores will have 60 percent new merchandise, which will have been shipped to the stores only ten days before, Gary Friedman, ceo, said at the Bear Stearns conference last week. The company also looks to further define its message by slashing its sku count by 30 percent.

Home textiles, as previously discussed, will have its assortment increased, eventually becoming a fifth of the merchandise mix. Already several merchandise "appetizers" are in the stores, like 464-count sheets from Italy. Restoration looks to offer quality textiles at a high value, Friedman said, including sourcing such fabrics from Libeco Lagae, a high-end Belgium linen weaver. In addition, he added that over the next three years, the company plans to grow its direct imports from 15 percent to 60 percent.

The new catalog will also drop in April, after significant reworking. It has been remerchandised to focus on the high-performing classifications, as has the new website, with decreased emphasis on items that cost less than $20. The company will also increase the catalog's circulation into store areas.

The remodeling begins next week of and will take about seven days per store, Friedman said, with 70 percent of the highest volume stores completed by April 9. All stores will remain open at the time, he said.

"We believe this year we will be profitable — the degree of profitability will be in relationship to the comp growth of stores and the merchandise margin enhancements," he added.

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