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Gottschalks to Open Home Furnishings Store

Gottschalks plans to open its first 30,000-square-foot lifestyle concept store in the third quarter in Pocatello, Idaho. The unit will primarily focus on home furnishings, with decorative home, housewares and gifts in half of the footprint and furniture in the other.

During its second-quarter conference call, Gottschalks executives stated that its furniture and mattress division has performed very strongly, and the company wanted to build on this by exploring the positive trends it has been seeing recently in home. The concept is meant for a smaller format of 20,000- to 35,000-square-foot stores.

On Aug. 11, it opened a lifestyle department store at the River Park Shopping Center in Fresno with a wider selection of fashion-forward merchandise, said company executives. More emphasis is placed on accessories, better sportswear, shoes and junior apparel, as well as home product and men's.

Executives said that strengthening these targeted categories helps the company attract a broader customer base beyond its core mature female shopper. Gottschalks will be focusing on attracting the 20- to 35-year-old demographic in the future through its marketing and product assortment.

In conjunction with the opening of its new Fresno store, the company launched an updated marketing program featuring its lowercase “g” logo that will roll out to all stores next month through broadcast media, direct mail, newspapers, in-store signage and shopping bags. “Part of our overall strategy is to reach out to a younger, more fashion-forward customer that's harder for a traditional department store to capture,” said James Famalette, Gottschalks president and CEO.

This marketing program and new lifestyle department store in Fresno comprise part of an ongoing five-year plan to roll out various merchandising changes and store renovations.

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