NEW YORK -- Warner Bros. is expanding its studio store concept and experimenting with home shopping.
That's the word from Peter Starrett, president of Warner Bros. worldwide, retail, who spoke about the company's rapid growth at the National Retail Federation's annual convention Tuesday.
Starrett said 40 studio stores are planned for the U.S. this year, bringing the total to 100.
In addition, the firm expects to add eight stores to the six now in the U.K., including a 28,000-square-foot flagship on London's Regent Street. Also in the works is a 22,000-square-foot store for Berlin, plus further European expansion.
This spring, merchandise from Warner Bros. studio stores will be carried on Time Warner's interactive cable system, which is being tested in Orlando, Fla. Starrett said the company is investigating other electronic systems, but declined to be more specific.
He said Warner Bros. owns eight studio stores in the Los Angeles area. Four were damaged during Monday's earthquake, but the extent of the damage is still being assessed.
Starrett's comments were made during a session called "New Visions in Retailing." Other panelists were Sally Frame Kasaks, chairman and chief executive officer of Ann Taylor and David Fuente, chairman of Office Depot.
It was moderated by Gordon Cooke, president of Time Warner Interactive.
Kasaks said Ann Taylor is exploring possibilities of overseas expansion, but would not be more specific. She noted that the firm has a strong manufacturing network in the Pacific, but said it gone through some difficulty working with American suppliers.
"We want suppliers to make money," she said. "We're willing to share risks. But that doesn't mean markdown money."
Kasaks said the company's goal is to remain tightly focused while diversifying its fashion business.
Business "won't be just about skirt lengths, blouses and jackets," she said. "It will be about new product extensions, like the petite business."
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