Coldwater Expands, Retools Operations

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Specialty direct mail retailer Coldwater Creek, Sandpoint, ID, is gearing up for the August opening of a distribution operation and customer call center in Parkersburg, WV, and is set to drop its latest catalog Coldwater Creek Home, which will drop in the fall to 1.6 million households.

According to David Gunter, director of corporate communications, the company has long been positioning itself for added growth.

"For our new operations center, we looked at about fifty possible sites in five different states before we finally decided on a location," he said. "What we were looking for was the best proximity to our major markets. We settled on Parkersburg because in excess of 70 percent of our customers live in the east."

The new location will put the catalog company within one day's shipping distance of all its east coast customers, Gunter said. "We'll have about 450 staff in the new warehouse, but we'll almost immediately begin ramping up for the holiday. And by Aug. 31, we expect to have merchandise items from all the catalogs available online through our e-commerce system." He said the company anticipates having about 1,000 employees in its warehouse during the peak holiday buying season.

Coldwater Creek recently sold its Milepost Four catalog which featured men's apparel and accessories. It also has discontinued its lesser know Bed & Bath catalog, replacing it with the new 68-page Coldwater Creek Home book, which will include everything from $15 personalized stationary to $2500 leather sofas. The company's Spirit of the West catalog is currently mailed to 2.3 million households. It's Northcountry book goes to about 10 million.

To keep up with demand for orders while preparing to transition the company to its new distribution center in Parkersburg, it has been operating an interim operations center in Mineral Wells, WV.

"The savings we'll see in Parkersburg on all our shipping costs should be very substantial," Gunter said. "And being that close to customers will save us a lot of money and improve our customer service."

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