CRATE & BARREL HAMMERS OUT DEAL TO OFFER HOME OFFICE FURNITURE

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Crate & Barrel is aiming to win a piece of the home office furniture market with the help of a Michigan furniture maker.

The Northbrook, Ill.-based retail chain is introducing a line of furniture designed by Herman Miller Inc., an $855 million contract furniture manufacturer in Zeeland, Mich.

"We're presenting it with the same attitude that we present our other furniture," said Rob Pitt, Crate & Barrel furniture product manager.

Made of solid cherry and manufactured by the same company that makes all Crate & Barrel furniture, the line features curved wings and tilt-up document display panels. A basic writing desk will sell for $599; a whole office setup with a desk, files and bookshelves will cost about $2,500.

For the next 12 months, the Herman Miller Home Office line will be sold only through the six Crate & Barrel Furniture stores, with three in the Chicago area. If sales are strong, Crate & Barrel and Herman Miller plan to broaden the line.

Crate & Barrel will tout the line with fliers mailed to current customers, as well as to people likely to have home offices, such as those with multiple home phone lines.

According to the Business & Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association, about 40 million people have home offices.

Ms. Cleaver is a correspondent for Crain's Chicago Business.

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