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Nau trims its plan to 15 new stores

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Saturday, September 01, 2007


PORTLAND “Ultimately the only thing you really know about a plan is that it’s ultimately going to be wrong.”

So says Ian Yolles, vice president of brand communications for green-chic, do-good clothing company Nau. He’s talking about Portland-based Nau’s much-anticipated launch earlier this year, what the company has learned from running its four “webfront” stores and what’s next.

Yolles says Nau is trimming its ambitious plans to open 20 new stores in the next year, with sights set now on 15. “It’s dependent ultimately on real estate,” is his caveat.

But he’s proud to report that the delayed gratification aspect of the webfront — customer who choose to have their Nau outfit of choice shipped to them rather than walking out of the store with it get a 10% discount — is catching on much better than expected. Nau officials had hoped 20% of customers would take the bait, but the figure is closer to 50%. The more online orders, the more Nau can ship from its central distribution facility in Portland and the fewer carbon offsets it has to buy.

Nau, famed for its roster of former Nike and Patagonia execs, started with its spring line of 100 clothing items and debuted its fall line of 150 styles (including the jacket pictured here) in August.

The 83-employee company has also expanded its in-store signage, the better to get their “we’re-different” message through to consumers.

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