Design Boom

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto", March 4, 2004, that was edited for clarity.

Watch "Your World w/Cavuto" weekdays at 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: You’ve probably heard of the housing boom, but what about the design boom? They work hand in hand, you know. My next guest says that housewares is everywhere because shoppers want to splurge on their homes.

With us now is Gordon Segal, the founder and the CEO, overall big cheese over at Crate & Barrel, whose newest store opened in Paramus, New Jersey, today.

Gordon, good to have you.


CAVUTO: How many stores do you guys have?

SEGAL: Well, we have 132 now around the country in some 23 markets.

CAVUTO: All right. Well, you obviously are firing on all cylinders here. I’m wondering if it goes hand in hand with the housing boom.

SEGAL: Well, I think there is this housing boom, but I think people are really updating and converting their homes a great deal, too. And I think people are getting -- the style of the country is changing. People want new colors and new feelings and new fashion in their homes.

And I guess what we are feeling is that people are really wanting to renovate not just by going to Home Depot and Expo and The Great Indoors. They want to renovate by really fixing and changing their dinnerware and their glassware and their furniture. And so I think right now there is a whole trend towards color and more modern design, and we are just the -- probably in the right place to benefit from that.

CAVUTO: You know, we have had a number of housing CEOs on recently, Gordon, who were saying things to the effect, well, we think interest rates are going to go up. Ara Hovnanian, among others, saying, we think 8 percent isn’t out of the question, we can live with that for a fixed rate mortgage. But I’ve got to wonder, at that level of north, whether it hurts homebuilders and then hurts you.

SEGAL: I don’t know if it does. You know, when interest rates went way high in the ‘80s, and we all had these horrible rates, our business was actually booming at that time, too.

I think people, if they are stopping to buy new homes, then they’re going to start refurbishing their older homes. And they’re going to start redecorating. And we benefit when someone says, "Honey can I redo the living room and put in a new sofa and a couple of chairs?"

CAVUTO: But you also have a price point, too. You don’t try to get too expensive.

SEGAL: Right.

CAVUTO: You’re not like Ethan Allen or anything. You have a clear distinction, right?

SEGAL: Right. We really try to offer great design at a great value. Not cheap merchandise, but, in a sense, not the elite merchandise. We really try to position it right. So from our standpoint, I think we are positioned in an up economy and even a modest economy.

CAVUTO: All right. Gordon Segal, I want to thank you very, very much. He’s the Crate & Barrel founder and CEO.

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