Pirch on Monday announced that in the spring it will launch a new boutique shop-in-shop concept in partnership with luxury French brand THG Paris.
The appliance company's new boutiques will be in its three Southern California showrooms, in Costa Mesa, Glendale and San Diego, according to a company press release emailed to Retail Dive.
Pirch earlier this year shifted its focus to the construction and design trades after retreating from a nationwide expansion that failed to spur many sales outside of its California base.
Pirch's showrooms — the word the company prefers instead of "stores" — are a retail playground of sorts that allow shoppers to try out working appliances and watch chefs prepare food using more than a dozen kitchen equipment displays. Unlike in typical big-box showrooms, water flows from faucets and flames flicker on stoves — customers have famously taken showers in the showroom to test out fixtures.
Purchase volume among even enthusiastic retail shoppers outside of California, however, wasn't enough to balance the expense of having such elaborate spaces. The more than 100 banners Pirch sells include pricey brands like Bertazzoni, California Faucets, Jenn-Air, La Cornue, Gaggenau, Kallista, Kohler, Miele, Sub-Zero, Wolf, Thermador, Viking — and THG Paris bath products, including Dean, Profil, Beyond Crystal, Collection O, Soho and West Coast.
As part of its revamp, Pirch last month announced a loyalty program for architect, builder, contractor and interior design professionals, the Pirch Black Trade Loyalty Program. The company hunkered down after shuttering its new stores outside of California at the end of the year due to lagging sales. Most of the stores shuttered last year — in Dallas, Chicago, Austin, Paramus, NJ and Atlanta — were in malls and less likely to cater to pros. The store in New York's SoHo neighborhood, meanwhile, appealed to consumers first and the trade second — which proved to be an ineffective strategy, a Pirch spokesperson told Retail Dive.
In a statement on Monday, THG Paris North American Director Pedro Uranga said he looks forward to the high-end brand's opportunity to be elevated by Pirch's presentation and the expertise of its associates.
"Designers and visitors of Pirch will be able to immerse themselves in the THG Paris brand story and find inspiration for innovative, new designs for the bath through our ensemble of designer collection suites and fully expanded series of Studio THG iconic signature products," he said. "Our goal is for customers to discover and connect with the exceptional expertise, materials and know-how of THG Paris brand."
While Pirch appears to have retreated from retail with its new strategy, the boutiques, along with other hands-on elements, will likely continue to attract consumers, according to retail prophet Doug Stephens.
"I still believe that Pirch was, and is, directionally correct in their approach," he told Retail Dive in an email in November. "There simply has to be a better kitchen and bath shopping experience than the big box. … I doubt we've heard the last of Pirch on the consumer side."