Container Store Debuts New Custom Closets Concept in LA, With Dallas Store Soon to Follow

The Container Store has been giving us closet envy for years, but that's about to escalate here shortly.The Coppell-based organization and storage retailer opened its first Custom Closets store in Los Angeles Wednesday. The retailer confirmed earlier this month that the second one will open in North Dallas when it relocates its Galleria North store. The new store will be around the corner in the old Toys R Us space facing the Dallas North Tollway.The point of the new store concept is to make it easier for both design customers and everyday shoppers to visualize the possibilities, said Melissa Reiff, Container Store CEO. Late Tuesday, the Coppell-based retailer reported a narrower loss of $4.1 million, or 8 cents a share, which was better than analysts expected. That compares to a loss of $6.8 million, or 14 cents a share, a year ago. Total sales increased 7% to $209.5 million and same-store sales were up 7.8%. Custom Closet sales increased 11.1% and represented 5 percentage points of the same-store sales increase. That's a win for Reiff who has nurtured the idea of expanding closet lines, adding wood and more custom options beyond its Elfa brand. Some of the wood, custom, walk-in closets cost several thousand dollars.The new Custom Closets store has 65 closet and lifestyle displays, free in-home design services and a new closet line. Avera is the latest brand the Container store has added to its lineup of Elfa, Classic, Elfa Décor and Laren brands of closet building materials and designs. It also has displays for pantry, garage and office.The store can also accomodate more business-to-business customers and it's making a big appeal to professionals. Work stations available where designers can bring in their clients and use the space and the store's staff to handle the customer closet process on their own. Stores can accommodate more customer appointments per day than its regular stores. Custom Closets stores aren't going to replace Container Stores, but the plan is to add them to multi-store markets, said Val Richardson, vice president of real estate for The Container Store.  Continue reading...

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