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STORE SPACES

First Look: RH opens luxury retail/dining showcase in Napa Valley

BY Marianne Wilson

RH has opened a luxurious outpost that combines retail with food, wine and art in the heart of California’s Napa Valley.

The new RH Yountville features an indoor-outdoor restaurant where patrons can dine under a soaring glass roof surrounded by olive trees, sparkling crystal chandeliers and dramatic 7-ft. fountains. The five-building complex also includes a two-story wine vault in a landmark, early 20th century building that was originally home to one of Napa’s first vintners. It has been transformed with a 24-ft. cedar ceiling, rough-cut fieldstone walls, luxe lounge seating and a monumental limestone bar.

Other features include an outdoor wine and barista bar, and two boutique design galleries. RH Yountville also has eight retail showrooms (or “lifestyle galleries”).

All the different components are connected by lush garden courtyards with outdoor living room-styled spaces that can be reserved for wine tastings, French limestone fountains, globally-sourced antiques and artifacts, a 40-ft., single slab tasting table, fireplaces, and walking path.

RH Yountville marks RH’s ongoing collaboration with restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff, who is also the founding president of RH Hospitality, and architect James Gillam of Backen & Gillam.

“RH Yountville reflects our vision for creating inspiring spaces and authentic experiences that respect and amplify the local culture,” said Gary Friedman, RH chairman & CEO. “This is an inherently personal project given our nearby headquarters in Marin County. We’re humbled to introduce this new experience to Napa Valley – one of the most celebrated food and wine destinations in the world.”

For more slideshows, click here.

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Gymboree to close Crazy 8 stores and cut back namesake stores; names CEO

BY Marianne Wilson

Just 14 months after it emerged from bankruptcy, Gymboree Group announced a “strategic review” and a major downsizing of its store fleet. It also named a new chief executive.

The children’s clothing retailer said it has initiated a comprehensive review of strategic options which could include a sale or other transactions for its Gymboree, Janie and Jack and Crazy 8 brands. The company also said it plans to close its value-oriented Crazy 8 stores and “significantly” reduce the number of Gymboree store locations in 2019.

Gymboree filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2017, and emerged later that year, in September, with about 350 less stores (giving it a total of about 380 locations) and new owners. It also cut its debt by some $1 billion.

In its statement announcing the restructuring, the company also revealed that, on November 18, Shaz Kahng, a member of the board since September 2017, was appointed CEO of Gymboree Group. She brings 30 years of retail leadership experience, and was instrumental in leading turnarounds of Lucy Activewear and various Nike business segments, according to Gymboree.

“The process we announced today is designed to reposition the company for success by establishing a brand portfolio and store footprint that is optimized for the current retail environment,” said Shaz Kahng, Gymboree Group CEO. ‘These strategic initiatives are an important next step as we continue to look for ways to unlock additional value in our brands. We are optimistic about our future as a more streamlined organization that can deliver enhanced, long-term value to its stakeholders.”

The retailer has been under heavy competition from Target and Walmart, both of whom have expanded their kids’ clothing offerings, and a reenergized The Children’s Place. In July, Gymboree announced it was rebooting its brand with new in-store and digital experiences. The re-boot also included a merchandise update.

Gymboree said that all its stores, including Crazy 8 stores will be open and fully stocked throughout the holiday season.

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First Look: Walgreens-Kroger pilot store

BY Marianne Wilson

Kroger Co. is setting up shop in Walgreens.

Walgreens and Kroger are partnering on a pilot that will bring a curated assortment of some 2,300 grocery products from Kroger into 13 Walgreens stores in northern Kentucky. The new “Kroger Express” branded department has launched in one location to date, in Florence, Ky., (photos above), with the remaining 12 pilot stores to come on board early next year.

The Kroger Express assortment runs the gamut from national brands to Kroger’s Our Brands private-label products to Home Chef meal kits. It also includes a selection of fresh produce and fruit, as well as dairy, meat and frozen items.

For more on the Walgreens-Kroger partnership, click here.

For more slideshows, click here.

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