Coco Republic: store opening, closing and reflection on the latter
COSTA MESA, Calif. — Australian furniture brand Coco Republic is debuting an extensive renovation of its 42,000-square-foot store here with a three-day grand opening celebration, while at the same time wrapping up business at its San Francisco flagship store.
The company, focused on expanding US reach for its Australian lifestyle brand, has renovated its HD Buttercup outpost at SOCO and The OC Mix, an interior design hub in Southern California’s Orange County to showcase the Coco Republic line.
A new addition to the showroom is a patio area for displaying Coco Republic outdoor furnishings. The entire space has been given a “more coastal feel” with an oak entryway and wood floors to appeal to the coastal Orange County shopper.
Along with the revamped Orange County location, Coco Republic recently became the anchor at the HD Buttercup Design Center in Culver City, California, which also serves as the corporate US office for Coco Republic. But the company is closing its three-level, 53,000-square-foot San Francisco store in Union Square with a closing sale, less than a year after it opened.
Sky Westcott, Coco Republic’s US president, told TODAY Furniture that it was “a very difficult decision” to close in San Francisco. “Since we opened, traffic has not been what we had hoped for in such an amazing area of the city,” she said.
Despite the support from local neighborhood customers, “we need customers from the west, east, and south of the city to get into the city and shop. The stores around us were closing at a rapid pace, and fewer and fewer customers were coming in to shop for their homes,” she said.
Although Wescott did not indicate the reason for the increase in job vacancies, San Francisco has been dealing with a growing problem with homelessness downtown, along with a post-pandemic shortage of office workers, driving major retailers such as CB2, Whole Foods and Nordstrom on departure. Williams-Sonoma has also announced plans to move out of Union Square in 2024.
“The vacancies around us make it an undesirable place for anyone outside the neighborhood to come shop,” Westcott said. “There are still a lot of tourists, but the home category is not what tourists are selling for.”
Coco Republic will continue to serve its commercial and design clients in San Francisco virtually through their own portal on the company’s new website and via house calls, she said, adding, “In the future we hope to return to the Bay Area with a site.”