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Sur La Table moves to make online shopping easier

BY Marianne Wilson

Sur La Table has launched a new solution designed to ensure online shoppers are able to easily find the best product.

The retailer of kitchen and table goods has deployed a tool from Edgecase (its ‘adaptive navigation solution”), which uses cleansed and enriched product attributes to make finding the right product online easier and more inspiring.

Sur La Table’s in-store sales are greater than online sales. But the daily traffic to SurLaTable.com surpasses daily visitors to all of the retailer’s physical stores combined. With this in mind, the merchant invested in the new tool to create a relevant and unique shopping experience, bridging online, mobile and in-store product discovery.

“Given the impact our online experience has on the sales in all channels, we know it’s critical that we continue to improve our online experience for the benefit of our customers regardless of the channel in which they ultimately complete the purchase,” said Kevin Ertell, senior VP of digital at Sur La Table. “The Edgecase investment is expected to improve product browsing and discoverability considerably and will have a positive effect on the entire sales process.”

Sur La Table’s partnership with Edgecase solves four key problems by:

• Expanding and cleansing Sur la Table’s product data to most accurately represent what is unique and compelling about each product;

• Presenting a more shopper-friendly product vocabulary to the online customer; one that better aligns with how shoppers might speak about a product to a store associate;

• Offering category level filters that leverage more “humanized” product data to make it easy for shoppers to find what they want; and

• Making product data and filter improvements simpler using clear intelligence, showing which attributes most impact product discovery and sales.

The Edgecase solution makes navigating the full selection of products more efficient and ensures all relevant product options are presented. Further, the insights that detail how shoppers think about products will help optimize product data and navigation, as well as merchandising strategies and content.

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Restoration Hardware puts spotlight on design in new store

BY Marianne Wilson

Restoration Hardware has few equals — and spares no expense — when it comes to creating luxurious retail destinations.

The luxury home furnishings retailer’s newest store, at The Gallery at Town Center Plaza, Leawood, Kansas, represents the latest iteration of its next-generation design galleries. The three-level, 56,000-sq.-ft. store includes an entire floor dedicated to the brand’s new concept, RH Modern, complete with an integrated RH Contemporary Art Gallery.

In addition, the new store includes an interactive design atelier, a professional workspace that allows customers, designers and architects to conceptualize and customize a home.

“Our goal is to blur the lines between residential and retail, indoors and outdoors, physical and digital, creating spaces that are more home than store – spaces that inspire both ourselves and our clients to conceptualize a new and more contemporary way of living,” said Gary Friedman, chairman and CEO, Restoration Hardware.

RH Leawood marks Friedman’s ongoing collaboration with design architect James Gillam of Backen, Gillam & Kroeger. Conceptualized as a transparent, multi-level contemporary structure filled with fresh air and natural light, RH Leawood features a charcoal-grey Venetian plaster exterior with an expanse of glass-and-steel French doors that open onto a streetscape lined with white oak and lacebark elm trees, winter gem boxwood and geometric topiaries. It features lush garden terraces on level two and a rooftop park. The 10,000-sq.-ft. garden space features a central trellis, white Japanese wisteria, chandeliers, fountains, sculptural evergreens and fragrant lavender that combine to enhance a dramatic display of Restoration Hardware’s outdoor furnishings.

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Ralph Lauren turnaround effort impacts Q1

BY Marianne Wilson

Ralph Lauren Corp. swung to a loss in its first quarter as costs related to efforts to turn around its business cut into first quarter earnings. But it still managed to beat Wall Street expectations.

The company lost $22 million, or 27 cents per share, versus net income of $64 million, or 73 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Revenue in the quarter was down 4% to a better-than-expected $1.55 billion.

Same-store sales declined 6%, which was greater than expected.

Earlier this summer, the luxury retailer unveiled its “The Way Forward” turnaround plan, which is designed to reenergize the core brand. The plan includes closing about 50 underperforming stores, corporate restructuring and supply chain improvements.

“We have made good initial progress in the execution of our Way Forward Plan,” said Stefan Larsson, president and CEO.

“We will continue to balance driving near-term performance with the pursuit of our long-term vision. We have already completed the planned right-sizing of the organization and are well underway in building the leadership team that will have the strength to successfully execute the plan.”

At the end of first quarter fiscal 2017, Ralph Lauren had 485 directly operated stores and 598 concession shops across the globe. The directly-operated stores included 132 Ralph Lauren, 81 Club Monaco and 272 Polo factory stores.

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