Restoration Hardware Gets Applause for Its Own Luxury Renovation Plan

SAN DIEGO ( TheStreet) -- Restoration Hardware Holdings ( RH), long known for its stylish novelty hardware and home furnishings, is undergoing something of a transformation.

As part of a rebranding to RH begun last year, the company is developing a luxury lifestyle brand called RH Atelier offering a much broader selection of products, including apparel, accessories, footwear and jewelry.

News of RH Atelier was part of a recent announcement from the company about the reappointment of Gary Friedman, the company's chairman emeritus, creator and curator. Friedman has been reappointed co-chief executive and chairman of Restoration Hardware Holding's board of directors.

Friedman will lead and collaborate with Co-Chief Executive Carlos Alberini on decisions affecting RH, as the company initially rebranded itself last year. The two will guide the company as it tries to move beyond its hardware store beginnings.

In a press release, Friedman described the future atelier store as "a curated, artisan crafted luxury apparel and accessories brand."

"The new branding positions us for the future and reflects our belief that we can curate a lifestyle beyond the four walls of the home," Friedman said in a second release about the rebranding.

The company declined to provide further comment.

Retail industry experts, though, say the rebranding and shift to a broader selection of luxury goods is a wise move and one that's likely to be successful.

"Where they are headed is a really good, smart place," says Ellis Verdi, president of New York City advertising agency DeVito/Verdi. "They are moving into an unoccupied position in the market."

There will be few competitors for RH Atelier, according to Verdi and other analysts who had difficulty naming direct competitors for the soon-to-be-revamped novelty hardware seller. Some potential competitors may include Holt Renfrew and Barneys, at least when it comes to clothing and home goods. RH Atelier will likely compete with small art galleries when it comes to the artwork sales.

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