Nacco buys bankrupt Le Gourmet Chef chain
A subsidiary of Nacco Industries has agreed to purchase the bankrupt Le Gourmet Chef kitchen appliance chain, according to The New York Times
The retail chain will become a unit of The Kitchen Collection, one of Nacco’s housewares subsidiaries. Paramus, N.J.-based Le Gourmet Chef operates 77 mall stores. The company filed for bankruptcy earlier this month saying that weak sales left it unable to pay its creditors.
The Chillicothe, Ohio-based The Kitchen Collection sells housewares through nearly 200 stores at outlet malls in 40 U.S. states, and through its Web site
The company said the purchase will help The Kitchen Collection “develop a new, more upscale store format” that complements its existing stores.
Last month, Cleveland-based Nacco – a conglomerate that also makes folklifts and mines coal – announced a deal to form the biggest supplier of countertop kitchen appliances by combining its Hamilton Beach/Procter Silex unit with Applica, the manufacturer of Black & Decker brand home appliances (DailyVista article
We called The Kitchen Collection
to gain insight on how the new chain would be integrated into its existing outlets.
We spoke to Trish Tickle, marketing manager for The Kitchen Collection, who told us that the company wanted to move into a more upscale direction.
“We are (currently) an outlet company,” she said. “We’ve been working on ideas for an upscale formatted store.”
Tickle said that the Le Gourmet Chef stores would be kept separate from The Kitchen Collection.
She said that the core customers at The Kitchen Collection are women (65 percent) aged 40 to 60.
“The real keystone to our marketing is that we work very closely with mall management who promote all the merchants,” Tickle said. “(We) work with the mall developer to promote that mall as a destination.”
Tickle said she doesn’t have an agency of record nor does she work with outside agencies.
According to the Nacco’s latest earnings report, The Kitchen Collection sales increased slightly to $32 million – due mostly to an increase from 191 to 197 stores. The division saw an operating loss of $1 million for the quarter than ended in June.
OK, this is going to be an uphill battle; we were hoping for a rebranding opportunity. Agencies could surely help promote The Kitchen Collection and Le Gourmet Chef, but it may take a little work to convince Tickle. She seems to take the attitude that simply parking in a good mall will bring in all the business required; however, many successful mall-based retailers engage in direct mail, in-store promotions and other forms of marketing. We’d approach Tickle with some success stories from other mall-based retailers. Agencies could also provide guidance on attracting the more-upscale demographic it seeks.
Given The Kitchen Collection’s operating loss and lackluster sales growth, perhaps Tickle should expand her marketing horizons somewhat.
The Kitchen Collection
71 E. Water Street
Chillicothe, OH 45601
President and Chief Executive Officer