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Michael Francis on...

Published on .

Designer vs. celebrity brands:

"We have many, many calls and many opportunities to work with celebrities. ... Celebrities aren't designers and we are going to truly stay true to our differentiation model. We don't want to undermine our philosophy that we are trying to provide excellent design at an affordable price. That can become awful muddy when you are dealing with pure celebrity talent."

Finding the next big designer name:

"Issac Mizrahi is an amazing partner and a great example of a designer whose philosophy was absolutely aligned with ours. His vision of luxury for every woman, everywhere is nothing more than another way to state `expect more, pay less.' Thomas O'Brien ships to stores this week. We've announced Smith & Hawkins coming to Target. I'm off to Europe to try to get a couple of new things done. We never really stop.

Brands and creative he admires:

"I look at what Saturn is doing. I look at Starwood Hotels, American Express, Apple, Starbuck's, Coca-Cola. These are brands that, yes, there is a product here, but what they really intend to do is build on the affinity between their brand and consumer, and I think a lot of retailers have stopped doing that. These are companies that have managed a lifestyle connection with their guest. Transactional relationships have defined too much of what retail has become."

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