This isn't going to be pretty and it ain't too nice either - but the truth hurts and it really struck a cord with me. Sorry pics are dark or unclear - blame it on the space. This past Saturday I was in Pottery Barn The Falls and learned they are closing two stores in my area - The Falls & Sunset Place - Miami. But just because you're closing a store, doesn't mean you drop all standards of presentation. Presentation is a customer service. If you don't care how the store looks - you send that same message to your customer : "I don't care about you." And with the prices they charge for merchandise, they really should care.

It's as if there is no recovery of the store happening.
If something sells, holes are left unfilled.
Accidents waiting to happen, especially with children.

Why are there BOXES crammed inside bushel baskets on the floor?
Swap for small items on shelves, and faceout the boxes so people can see the product.
And take down the two galvanized trays leaning behind the glasses on the top shelf - unless you want that glass to break when someone tries to reach for it.

Regardless of a closing, relocation, or a remod - simply go back to the basics:  Merchandise with like items pulled together, in a well lit space, and easy for customers to find - not half ass scattered all over the place. I worked a 135,000 sq. ft. store through an 60,000 sq. ft. expansion - and a complete gut & remodel, but with the leadership of my store manger, my planning & organizing skills, the presentation skills of my staff and department managers (I helped train), we all helped the store to have a sales gain through it all.

This table looks like a table on Christmas Eve at a department store.
Tissue garbage and torn boxes?? Clean it up and throw it away!

Hello trip hazard!
Oh - and you expect people to pay how much for the chandy that you have on the FLOOR?

If I were at Pottery Barn (and I could have been had their ad for a position of District Visual Market Manager not been bogus when I interviewed with them last summer) I would NOT have let the store EVER look like this!! I say bogus because although they had the position posted on line, and I had sourced the store & district manager directly through LinkedIn and Facebook (to get an interview with them), the first thing I was told as I sat down for the interview was "the position doesn't really exist". They did offer me a PT Sales position (uh - not) as well as even contacted me around October to see if I'd be interested in PT Seasonal help, to which I declined both (SMH). I learned not too long they also had done this "bait & switch" routine to a friend of mine who had also applied for the same position, which was online posted for about 6 months.

More light coming in from windows - but still - how many lamps out???

  1. Push everything forward - especially towards the front of the store (where the window are).
  2. Remove the banners from the windows and let the light in the space (since they're too lazy to change the light bulbs)
  3. Keep the shelves consistently filled - if need be, keep all tops empty or as location for sign holders.
  4. Keep pushing merchandise forward, and leave the back of the store vacant, or as the location for all the furniture. This would also help prevent shrinkage (shop lifting) in the store.

Merchandise on floor?
Meanwhile shelves are empty?
In an economy where every sale is so critical, for a company to stay in business... and for a company who has BUILT A BRAND and a reputation KNOWN for impeccable life styled displays & ideas - HOW on God's green earth could corporate allow their store to look THIS BAD??? "Oh but the store is closing." So what!  NOT an excuse! Is this how you ran it? It's probably why it is closing!

Pick up merchandise off floors and fill fixtures.

Clear the columns - fill the fixtures.

Empty shelves & sign holders, rugs scattered on floor & trip hazards, a chandelier on the floor, crumbled tissue paper garbage on tables, half empty fixtures scattered around but boxed merchandised crammed in bushel baskets on the floor, and several lights out. Even the rest room was appalling - it looked and smelled worse than a truck stop. WTH?

Condense from the top - down  -fill.

Almost, but not quite.

How do you feel when you walk into a messy store or stores restroom? Especially if you know that store (because of the catalog overload they send to our homes) and especially when you know they are overcharging for product you can easily go DIY, as so many of you I've learned through blogging do.

Lower your prices - NOT your standards.

Although they are closing two older store locations, they are opening a new store in a new location in Merrick Park, Coral Gables. Hopefully, they are bringing in a better quality staff of associates and managers to run the new store, who actually not only care about the store and the customers, but are a little more appreciative of even having a job.

Yup. I'm LEO - and you just heard me ROAR!!!

But have a great day!  ;-)


  1. You are so right...just because a store is closing is no reason for it to look like it was ransacked. When I worked retail we would have never been allowed to have this happen (and I did work at two stores that closed).

    Thanks for cming by 504 Main. I am a new follower

  2. I would have turned on my heal & walked back out again the lack of care in presentation would have totally put me off. Just because they are closing down doesnt mean it needs to look like a jumble sale.

  3. Wow! I am a Leo, too, and I appreciate everything you just roared. Having worked at our local PB store one Christmas, then being all but promised a job that never materialized, I am not really surprised by the bait and switch tactics of their advertising that you mentioned. I have been a loyal customer for a long time, although I usually wait for Clearance, but in the last few years, it seems as though the standards have fallen drastically. I was just in the other day to browse, and the store looks worse every time I see it. There is less merchandise to choose from, and it is not nearly as well-presented. They receive a "plan-o-gram" each week from the home office, just as all the chains do, and they do their floor set-up from that. So that leaves me wondering, did all the good visual merchandisers get the boot?

    I wonder if the catalog will become their mainstay again, as it was in the beginning? Over the last couple of weeks, I have noticed that several of the bloggers mentioned that the PB stores in their area are closing.

    This economy is making it not fun to shop at all. Many stores, not just PB, do not have a decent selection of anything at all, and the people who work there usually know next to nothing about what they sell.

    Thank you for a thought-provoking post.

  4. Thank you so much for dropping by pretty girl and for the lovely comments.
    What a shame this things happen to stores, they just fall so low, it's sad to see. I hate when sales people are not ready, or know silch about what they're selling...or even, DON'T CARE! Thanks for sharing this.

  5. I cant think in a messy store - nothing ever looks appealing to me. I like things beautifully displayed. And, like you, I really think it is a statement about how they feel about their customers (and employees)

  6. Thanks SO much for the feedback! I've loved reading these comments!! And yes - I have to agree - I wanted to get out ASAP, but I saw the photo & blog opp so I took it - especially after my experiences - and wanted to share...

    Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!
    xo Lynda

  7. WSI will continue to fumble into future years as their product and executive teams seem to loose track of "innovation" in rough times. Since 2009 its all been down hill. Sorry Laura.

  8. THis is Totally a visual manager for a well know retailer (SM) I saw how people in higher positions in the store really did not know how to present merchandise. It is really sad and a lot of creativity went out the window with some of these "better" or "newer" floor plans. Visual Merchandising is really becoming a lost art. Too bad...



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