FINANCE

Experiential retailer in store closings

BY Marianne Wilson

High-end bath, kitchen and appliance retailer Pirch is focusing on its California roots for future growth.

The company, famed for its "try before you buy" experiential showroom format, is closing up to six of its 10 locations in an overhaul that will see it focus primarily on its four California stores (Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Springs and Orange County) and such customers as architects, builders and interior designers. Pirch's stores in Dallas, Chicago, and Atlanta are due to close Sept. 30, reported Bloomberg. Also closing on that date is its store in Austin, Texas, which opened in May.

“Pirch has made the strategic decision to refocus its footprint and pace of expansion,” stated a Perch company spokesperson. “Our California stores are performing well and profitable, and we remain focused on growth in this region. In other regions, Pirch is currently in discussions with landlords and has begun the process of closing certain locations that have not met our expectations."

Although numerous reports said Pirch is also closing its flagship in Manhattan's SoHo, the company spokesperson told Chain Store Age the location is performing well and has a strong customer following. Pirch is evaluating its plans for the SoHo location, with a decision expected in the next few weeks, according to the spokesperson.

Going forward, Pirch will emphasize its core business of serving the design resource community (architects, builders, interior designers, and the like). "These have been the most impactful customers and have driven the company’s success in Southern California," the company spokesperson said. 


Pirch emphasized that all customer orders will be satisfied and shipped as planned from all stores. It also struck a positive note about its future.

"We remain confident that our unique business model will be successful on a more focused scale and we are committed to delivering on our founding mission of providing customers exciting new ways to shop for the home through our innovative multi-brand immersion experience," the company spokesperson stated.

Pirch offers a curated collection of premier appliance brands in an interactive environment that allows customers to "test drive" many of the items. Multiple vignettes are featured, showing cooktops, ovens, refrigerators and grills, as well as working showers, sinks and bathtubs. Many of the stores feature a working test kitchen where recipes are by a visiting chef or special events are held.

In July 2016, Pirch opened its largest location, a 32,000-sq.-ft. flagship in an historic, former ironworks building in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. The store offered complimentary on-site cooking classes, and had two on-site live demo kitchens, one set up as an indoor kitchen and the other as an outdoor one.

In February, Pirch was named one of the 10 most innovative companies in retail, "for bringing the appliance store to life," in an annual ranking by Fast Company. And in June, it made Inc. Magazine's"25 Most Disruptive Companies of the Year" list.

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ECOMMERCE

Online giant to expand its distribution network in Mexico

BY CSA STAFF

Amazon is looking to take advantage of Mexico’s growing e-commerce industry.

The online giant is planning to open a 1 million sq. ft. warehouse near Mexico City, according to Reuters. Scheduled to open next year, it would be the company’s third distribution center in the country.

The new warehouse will reside in the Tepotzotlan municipality, about 25 miles north of the Mexican capital. The facility would triple Amazon’s distribution space in the country, and help it service approximately 120 million potential customers, the report said.

Amazon’s Mexico push comes amid talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement, which could benefit the Seattle-based retailer if the United States persuades Mexico to raise a $50 limit on the value of online purchases that can be imported duty-free, according to Reuters.

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REAL ESTATE

Phillips Edison buys Chicagoland center

BY Al Urbanski

Phillips Edison & Company has acquired a center anchored by Mariano’s grocery in the Chicago suburb of Hoffman Estates.

The 159,443-sq.-ft. Hoffman Village was left two-thirds vacant when Dominick’s closed in 2011, but the emergence of Mariano’s Fresh Market, owned and operated by Roundy’s, returned occupancy back to 94%, according to former owner NewQuest.

The acquisition “supports the strategy of owning and managing grocery-anchored centers located in markets that demonstrate strong long-term economic and demographic fundamentals,” said PECO senior VP of Acquisitions David Wik.

Other tenants at Hoffman Village include AT&T, Anytime Fitness, GNC, Fannie May Candies, Hallmark, Subway, Supercuts, and Dunkin Donuts.


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