Crate & Barrel Makes Shopping Fun

Nov 26, 2002

By George Anderson

There’s a good reason that housewares retailer Crate & Barrel continues to rack up annual double digit sales increases nearly 40 years after it opened its first store. Consumers love shopping there.

Leonard Berry, professor of marketing at Texas A&M University told the Chicago Tribune, “A lot of shopping isn’t fun. Shopping at Crate & Barrel is fun. That’s one of the key reasons they’ve been successful and sustained that success.”

Crate & Barrel generates approximately $850 million in revenues from the sale of housewares. The chain continues to grow with the single-minded purposefulness of its founder, Gordon Segal. According to the article in the Tribune, “While other housewares retailers chased the design craze of the moment, Segal has returned over and over again to the same European suppliers and design philosophy–clean-lined, Scandinavian-inspired, colorful.”

Sid Doolittle, retail consultant with McMillan/Doolittle says, “Gordon has substantially changed the category he is in. He went in with a fashion statement in a utilitarian category.”

Moderator’s Comment: What lessons can other retailers
learn from Crate & Barrel?

  1. Decide what you want your brand to stand for and stick
    to that vision zealously.

  2. Identify the consumers that share the same values as
    your brand.

  3. Cater to the needs of your consumers and create an
    on-going dialogue to anticipate needs they may not have as yet identified.

  4. Continuously repeat steps 1 – 3.
    Anderson – Moderator

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