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CB2 just keeps barreling along

Remember CB2 — Crate & Barrel's cheap-chic furniture and accessories concept? After a two-year test, Crate & Barrel will open two more Chicago area locations in 2003. After that, CB2 could roll out to Boston, New York City and Washington, D.C., the company says.

Though no deals are signed, the concept may even grow beyond those initial markets, says Gordon Segal, Crate & Barrel founder and CEO.

Crate & Barrel began testing the smaller 9,000-sq.-ft. concept store two years ago near its Northbrook, Ill., headquarters to lure younger shoppers in hopes they might graduate to the larger stores. CB2 stores have a contemporary urban feel with an “edgier touch” and lower price points, Segal says.

“We opened one store and it has grown nicely (in sales),” says Segal. “We'd like to open CB2 stores in the same markets as Crate & Barrel, but it's still in the test phase.” Crate & Barrel's go-slow growth approach has kept the company healthy at a time when many retail chains are retrenching. The company operates 115 stores in 21 markets.

The privately-held company also plans to open as many as five “lifestyle” and full-sized stores annually. Crate & Barrel's lifestyle stores are 20% smaller and stock fewer items than typical units. The model will be used for lifestyle shopping centers built in suburbs, Segal says. Last month it opened a new 30,000-sq.-ft. lifestyle store in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta, Ga.

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