Recent Posts

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A follow-up to my Pottery Barn letter

Two months ago, I wrote an open letter to Pottery Barn addressing my concerns with their merchandising. It struck a nerve with you, Dumplings, and was the second most commented post ever on La Lamp Shade. One lovely reader even posted it on a Linked-In home furnishings professionals forum.

Nearly 60 days on from that post, parent company Williams-Sonoma released its latest returns and things don't look good. "Same-store sales for the quarter ended May 4 were down 22.6% at Pottery Barn."

YIKES.

In my previous post, I gave puh-lenty of examples of what PB is doing wrong. This time I am going to focus on positive reinforcement. I had said that what PB needs to do is re-focus its efforts towards a clean American look with a slight Euro edge. This will re-establish Pottery Barn as the great mid-priced home furnishings retailer.

This morning, I trolled every single category on Pottery Barn's website, and these are examples of the direction PB should be heading. A signature style with basic pieces just different enough to pique customer interest and spur sales.


Pottery Barn does seem to understand that the Great Recession is forcing more people to entertain at home. I would hope PB will spice up their dinnerware and barware offerings. Customers will spend money on clever little gadgets and serving pieces that are a twist on the everyday.


So what in the Pottery Barn collection requires immediate attention? The window treatments and rugs are in serious need of a shot in the arm. Yes, neutrals are easy, but the selection in these two categories is the home decorating equivalent of horse tranquilizers.

Pottery Barn, please ditch the following - anything zebra, all mirrored furniture, the NFL and MBL glassware (WTH?), and your wall decor buyer. I beg of you.

[Furniture Today]

10 comments:

drollgirl said...

may PB get this message. i sure hope they do!!!

Alexis said...

Raina, you are a style genius! One can only hope that your suggestions find their way to the decision-makers at Pottery Barn...

nkp said...

When you're right, you're right...and you my dear are usually spot on!

karly / design-crisis.com said...

ok, so, you're kinda sorta really good at this whole merchandising thing. Your suggestion to pump up the home entertaining section was brilliant!!

Alicia B. Designs said...

You are so cute trying to help PB sales! I love those green glasses but I already have some from Anthro...

NFL glasses? I'm confused...at PB?? and mirrored furniture can go away and never come back for all I care.

none said...

Every home retail operation is suffering now, so showing poor sales figures proves nothing specific.

Your advice boils down to "I like these things, so you should sell only them." You don't supply any actual data or hard evidence to convince anyone that your inventory plan is good for business, rather than just your aesthetics.

Raina said...

Hey None,

Aren't you smart to figure out how to anony-comment?

Dumplings, methinks we have a PB buyer (or former buyer) in our midst.

Actually, PB's same-store sales have been in free fall for three years. I would think Williams-Sonoma would be getting pretty sick of it all and oust whomever is in charge of merchandising and planning.

erin@designcrisis said...

I think you just sold me on that bed, which I would never have noticed myself due to the sheer exhaustion trudging through PB's craptacular offerings generally brings.

You are so good at finding the silver lining!

christy said...

i hope they get the message, too.

Raina said...

Hello Christy and welcome to this deliciousness!