Pierre Deux opens N.Y. flagship store

Carole Sloan, June 17, 2002

Pierre Deux, a high-end French country home furnishings specialist, has opened its new flagship store here at 59th Street and Madison Avenue.

Bill Keimig, chief operating officer of the soon-to-be 14-store chain, said furniture has had "triple digit increases in the last three years" and represents a third of total sales.

Keimig and Sue Kelly, vice president, merchandising, discussed the firm's future during a tour of the new store last week. The company's previous flagship unit, at Madison Avenue and 71st Street, is still open but will close at year's end when the lease expires.

At 7,000 square feet — 3,800 square feet at street level — the new store is 3,000 square feet larger. It's in a high traffic area for both New York residents and tourists — a stone's throw from Crate & Barrel and high-end apparel boutiques, and is an easy walk from the designer buildings on Third Avenue.

The company plans to open three to five new stores a year, Keimig said. At the same time, the company is moving ahead in developing its catalog and online businesses.

Pierre Deux was started in 1967 by two Pierres — an American of French origin, Pierre LeVec, and French native Pierre Moulin. They hoped to establish a home in America for French country furnishings and Provencal fabrics and accessories. Today, the retailer is owned by Madame Cointreau de Bouteville, who bought it from the two Pierres 10 years ago.

The merchandise mix is about 20% antiques, from furniture to accessories. The balance consists of exclusive reproductions of French country of the 18th and 19th centuries in furniture, textiles, rugs and accessories, developed by merchandising and design staffs here and in France.

"We want to be the French country authority," Keimig said. "We offer a one-stop environment — and our downstairs showroom is designed to create a home."

The company's fabric collection, produced in France, includes a wide range of prints and wovens for special order upholstery.

Kelly said the catalog business, now three years old, is growing steadily, as is the Internet business. Some 35% to 40% of the in-store assortment and catalog are the same.

The catalog mails in the spring and fall with a circulation of more than 1.5 million a year and is sent throughout the country. Many people from heartland USA are customers of Pierre Deux as a result of the catalog, and buy everything from armoires to accessories and food, she said.

The company also uses local newspaper advertising, direct mail to existing customers and designer discounts as marketing tools.

Keimig said the Internet selection is the same as in the catalog, but customers can also see the fabric assortment. "What happens is that they pull the fabrics off the site, look at them and then go to the store to buy the furniture. It drives store traffic."

Pierre Deux also recently moved its headquarters from Nanuet, N.Y., to a 40,000 square foot facility in Secaucus, N.J.

Sue Kelly, left, vice president, merchandising and Bill Keimig, chief operating officer, in Pierre Deux's new Madison Avenue store.
An antique walnut armoire acts as a backdrop for a simple provincial loveseat, mated to a walnut table.
A demilune table is flanked by different versions of Louis XV chairs, covered in Pierre Deux exclusive fabrics.
A classic club chair and companion ottoman, covered in a gold and red woven fabric, is paired with a classic sofa in a red and cream woven fabric.
A Louis XV rush settee and companion rush chairs surround a French country farm dining table.
A three-seat version of the rush settee is heaped with Provence-inspired fabrics on pillows. The ornate iron table is fashioned after an antique garden gate.

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