LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Editor's note: In the June 1994 issue, WWD Atlanta published an article critiquing customer service in various local stores, based on spot-checks by WWD reporters. The following is a letter received from a retailer in response to that article.

To the editor:
I took great exception to your June article, "Service, Store by Store." Idealistically, I would like my Phipps and Perimeter mall stores to appeal to every element of our society, but successful retail operations today must specialize and clearly define their target market. As a result, it is possible our Phipps Plaza environment may intimidate a 22-year-old who may have a different preference for clothes and service than found at Bonnie White. I make no apology...We've worked 16 years to build our fashion image, hire seasoned professionals and service the sophisticated shopper.
From a merchant's perspective, our goal is to treat everyone professionally and with respect. This is essential, even recognizing the broad assortment of individuals who challenge the sales associates in today's regional malls. I can assure you how badly an owner feels when anyone, for any reason, has an unpleasant shopping experience. This is just not acceptable, and if this were really the case--my apology is extended.
However, my professional perspective is that your readers would have been better served if the young author would have been directed by WWD to one of the many stores who cater to customers who wear the younger fashions such as combat boots and berets, or say "cool." Please understand, my complaint is not with the young author, but with the WWD editors who should have known enough about WWD's reputation for quality fashion reporting to see this disparity and professionally edit the article before print.
Bonnie White, chairman
BONNIE WHITE Inc.

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