Crate & Barrel
|Crate & Barrel|
|Founded||1962Chicago, Illinois, U.S..|
|Headquarters||Northbrook, Illinois, U.S.|
Number of locations
|102 Crate and Barrel stores and outlets / 20 CB2 stores (2019)|
|Janet Hayes, CEO (2020-) |
|Products||housewares, furniture, and home accessories|
|Revenue||US$1.6 billion (est.)|
|Owner||Otto GmbH (1998–present)|
Number of employees
Crate and Barrel Holdings employs 7,500 associates across Crate and Barrel, Crate and Kids, CB2, and Hudson Grace. With over 100 stores in the U.S. and Canada and franchise partners in 9 countries, the company is an international destination for modern furniture, housewares and decor, connecting the work of artisans and designers from around the world to more than 100 million customers each year.
Gordon and Carole Segal opened the first Crate & Barrel store on December 7, 1962, at age 23. The 1,700-square-foot (160 m2) space in part of an old elevator factory was located at 1516 North Wells Street in the then-bohemian Old Town neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. The inspiration was their honeymoon in the Caribbean, where the Segals saw inexpensive yet tasteful European household products for sale. They became interested in providing functional yet aesthetically pleasing products to young couples just starting out. Surprised to see that European manufacturers offered many beautiful and durable products at reasonable prices, they were inspired to start their own store in the United States. The Segals started by recruiting an employee and leasing an abandoned elevator factory on Chicago's Wells Street. They traveled throughout Europe buying directly from glassblowers, ceramicists and factories making French copper pots and simple white bistro dinnerware.
The first store opened in response to a flourishing of world trade in home furnishings due to the early 1960s, round of talks about the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. The Segals sought out small European companies that were not represented in America and negotiated direct purchases from these factories that could be sold to the consumer while avoiding a wholesaler's markup. To this day, a majority of Crate & Barrel's products are direct imports from Europe, though Thai, Mexican and Indian glass and textiles can also be found in their stores.
The Segals derived the company name by the materials that they originally used to display items in their Chicago store. A friend suggested they call their company "Barrel and Crate", but Carole thought they should reverse the order of the words. They turned over the crates and barrels that the merchandise came in, let the wood excelsior spill out, and stacked up the china and glass. This helped emphasize their strongest selling point, that their products were direct imports.
In 1966, Segal and the designer Lon Habkirk visited the Design Research store in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which had an "enormous influence" on their retailing approach. Habkirk later remarked: "Eventually we took the whole idea and translated it into a reproducible formula."
In 1968, the Segals opened their second store in the Plaza del Lago shopping center in suburban Wilmette, Illinois, and third in Oak Brook, Illinois in 1971. Its first store outside the Chicago area opened in Chestnut Hill, MA in 1977. In 1979, it opened its second Cambridge, Massachusetts store in the building designed for the recently closed Design Research, which they had so admired.
By 1985, the chain had grown to 17 stores, and has continued to grow. In March 1995, it opened its first New York location (its 59th location), in Manhattan. After selling a majority stake to German mail order company the Otto Group in 1998, the company had financing to increase its rate of expansion. (Otto became the sole owner in 2011.) By 2002, it had grown to approximately 100 locations, and over 135 locations by late 2004.
Crate & Barrel's flagship store, located in Chicago on Michigan Avenue in the "Magnificent Mile", closed in January 2018; the building became the world’s largest Starbucks coffee roastery and retail space. Today there are 93 Crate and Barrel Stores, including 10 outlets, in the United States and Canada.
In 2019, Crate and Barrel partnered with the Cornerstone Restaurant Group to open The Table at Crate, a full-service restaurant at the Crate and Barrel Oak Brook store in Oakbrook, IL. It also acquired Hudson Grace, a boutique home decor, entertaining and gift brand based in San Francisco. Crate and Barrel plans to grow the Hudson Grace brand through retail expansion into niche markets and an invigorated online presence to engage new and existing customers across channels.
Crate & Barrel Holdings has 22 stores in Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and United Arab Emirates. In September 2008, Crate & Barrel opened its first location outside the United States, at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. A new two-story 35,000-square-foot (3,300 m2) building, similar to other newly opened stores in the U.S., was constructed. A second Canadian store, in Calgary, opened in October 2009. A third Canadian store opened in Mississauga, Ontario, on October 28, 2010, at Square One Shopping Centre. Further stores opened in 2011 in Edmonton, Alberta at Southgate Centre, another one in Spring 2012 at Carrefour Laval Shopping Centre in Laval, Quebec and another in Oakridge Centre mall in Vancouver, British Columbia in early 2013. Future international expansion in Canada and possibly other countries is also reportedly planned.
Crate & Barrel opened its first store in Peru in 2015, and opened its first store in Colombia on December 2016 in Bogota- Parque La Colina Mall, via a franchise agreement with Falabella (retail store).
On July 2017, Crate & Barrel opened its first store in Central America in San José, Costa Rica, inside Avenida Escazú mall.
Barbara Turf, first hired in 1968, succeeded Gordon Segal as CEO of the company in May 2008. In November 2008, it was reported that sales for the prior year for the chain were $1.3 billion. Turf retired in 2012. Sascha Bopp was named to replace her. Sascha Bopp departed August 2014. While a replacement was sought, Otto Group asked Segal to return as a consultant.
Doug Diemoz, formerly with competitors Restoration Hardware and Williams Sonoma, became CEO of Crate & Barrel on August 1, 2015. Doug Diemoz departed April 2017. It was announced Neela Montgomery would assume his role.
Neela Montgomery, former member of the Executive Board with the Otto Group, led the company as CEO until August 2020, ending six-years with the Otto Group.
Janet Hayes became the CEO of Crate and Barrel Holdings, a global home furnishings retailer including the brands Crate and Barrel, Crate and Kids, CB2, and Hudson Grace on August 1, 2020.
Crate & Barrel offers a variety of "upmarket" housewares, furniture, and related merchandise. These are displayed in the "vignette" style, where items are grouped together as they might appear in the home. The company was an innovator of this style, which has since become more widely used.
Crate and Barrel has two sister brands. CB2 is a home furnishings division geared toward young adults created in 2000. The brand now has 15 stores across the U.S. and Canada. An additional store was planned to open in Denver in 2018.
Crate and Barrel's kids brand The Land of Nod, acquired in 2001, closed all stores by the end of Spring 2018. On March 7, 2018 Crate and Barrel launched Crate and Kids, a kids furnishings, home goods and gifts product offering launching online and in 40 stores.
In 2019, Crate and Barrel announced its acquisition of Hudson Grace, a boutique home decor, entertaining and gift brand based in San Francisco.
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In a franchise agreement the Al Tayer Group will open two stores in 2010, one in the Mall of the Emirates and the other in Mirdif City Centre which will also open its doors in the first quarter.
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Crate and Barrel opens its first New York-based CB2 store on Tuesday. It marks the third CB2 store, and is the retailer's first CB2 store outside of Chicago.
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