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Gottschalks zeros in on home

When Gottschalks opens its new flagship store here next spring, the regional department store chain will offer customers a "more updated, fashion-driven and focused assortment" of home goods in textiles, housewares and gifts for the home than it does in its traditional units, said James Famalette, CEO and president.

"For example, we'll target four to five key vendors for bedding versus our larger assortments at our traditional stores," Famalette explained. "And we won't include big ticket home items (in the home department), meaning mattresses and furniture."

He added that the assortment of textiles, housewares and gifts for the home at this new concept store, set to be two floors and measure 100,000 square feet — which is slightly smaller than an average Gottschalks unit — will comprise "better lines." He said the company is not prepared yet to elaborate on which brands it will include at the store.

Situated in the River Park lifestyle center here, the new Gottschalks River Park flagship site will be the only full-line department store on location.

This new prototype store will focus on upscale brands and will also carry expanded offerings in cosmetics, fragrances, accessories and shoes. Aside from its revamped home assortment, the store will feature updated fashions in women's and men's apparel, as well as offer trend focus shops in juniors and young men's and an enhanced children's department — all of which will cater to the younger family demographic in the Northern Fresno market. The retailer also expects to feature a variety of specially designed shops in the store for many of Gottschalks' most significant vendors.

"The Gottschalks River Park store is being developed to focus on the rapidly growing consumer base in northern Fresno," Famalette said. "This store will definitely have a different feel from that of many of our traditional Gottschalks stores. Our goal is to create a dynamic and fashion-forward shopping experience with a combination of the best brands, enhanced fixtures and visual displays which are not traditionally seen in many Gottschalks stores today."

Famalette added that the Gottschalks River Park store prototype will also serve as a concept that "we expect will be introduced in other markets as we continue our store opening plans in the future."

Gottschalks currently operates 63 department stores and 10 specialty apparel stores in six western states — California (39), Washington (12), Alaska (6), Oregon (2), Nevada (2) and Idaho (2).

River Park is the largest retail and entertainment destination in California's Central Valley. When the development's last phase is completed, it will cover more than 1.2 million square feet comprised of movie theaters, restaurants and specialty stores.

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