CB2 to close outlet in Singapore

Furniture and homeware brand Crate & Barrel's sister store in Peranakan Place is looking for a new location in town

CB2 will move out of its Peranakan Place premises next month after holding its closing-down sale.
CB2 will move out of its Peranakan Place premises next month after holding its closing-down sale.PHOTO: ST FILE

Three years after its Singapore debut, CB2 - the sister store of American furniture and homeware brand Crate & Barrel - is closing shop for now.

Its management is looking for a new shop space in a mall, which is likely to be in Orchard Road, says Mr Yung Ong, 36, executive director for the Singapore branches of Crate & Barrel and CB2.

He says it is time to move as the current store is "not in the right location".

CB2 is housed in a 557 sq m space on the second level of Peranakan Place, a row of shophouses next to The Centrepoint mall in Somerset.

Its entrance on the first level is sandwiched between bak kwa shop Bee Cheng Hiang and coffee joint TCC. Around the corner, there are bars such as Alley Bar, Acid Bar and Odd One Out.

Crate & Barrel has two outlets here - a five-storey flagship store in Orchard Gateway and a smaller store in Ion Orchard. There are no plans to open new Crate & Barrel outlets here.

Mr Ong, whose family owns Peranakan Place, says CB2's owners had picked the building because they loved its architecture and the space's expansive, loft-like feel also matched the style of furniture the brand carries.

CB2 targets young adults and its furniture is designed for small spaces and those on a limited budget. Prices range from $1.95 for a beaker glass to $2,999 for a dining table.

When CB2 opened here in 2013, it was its first store outside North America and the vibe at Peranakan Place is similar to the neighbourhoods in which the American stores are located.

Mr Ong says: "CB2 stores have always been in different, hipster- type neighbourhoods and not traditional retail locations.

"However, we aren't getting the right (customers) at Peranakan Place. The mindset of people who walk by here is a little different - they are not stopping to look at furniture.

"It's strange because Crate & Barrel is just a few doors down at Orchard Gateway and you would think that we would attract buyers from there, but we don't. But that's just the market - the consumer behaviour is different."

While the other businesses in Peranakan Place are doing well, he says CB2 is not making money. Sales figures grew from the first to second year - although it was not making money yet - but declined in the third year.

CB2's hiatus - it will shut next month after holding its closing-down sale - comes after home-grown furniture and home accessories retailer iwannagohome announced in February that it was closing its two stores in Tanglin Mall and Great World City, amid a retail slowdown.

Other homefurnishing stores have pulled out of Singapore in recent years - Japanese brand Francfranc left in 2014 after two years, while Goods of Desire, a cult Hong Kong lifestyle retailer, exited last year after three years.

But Mr Ong is optimistic about CB2's future in Singapore.

A new store will likely be ready by next year.

He says: "We're just in the wrong spot, but that's part of business. While this type of location might have worked for CB2 in the past, we're now changing our impression of what's the right real estate for the brand."

CB2 will conduct a sale from April 15 to May 14, with discounts of up to 75 per cent.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 07, 2016, with the headline 'CB2 to close outlet in Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe