Bobos can't save Restoration Hardware from its boo-boos.
Restoration's need for growth—if you can't turn a profit with 90 stores, the thinking goes, you've got to get bigger—led it to expand into places that were bourgeois but not bohemian: Buford, Ga.; Metairie, La.; Grandville, Miss.; and Kansas City, Mo. It turns out that expensive soaps and towel bars aren't necessarily habit-forming. And it turns out that the natural market for Restoration Hardware may have been limited, like the audience for Bobo passions like art-house cinema or Afghan cuisine.
Daniel Gross is the Moneybox columnist for Slate and the business columnist for Newsweek. You can e-mail him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter. His latest book, Dumb Money: How Our Greatest Financial Minds Bankrupted the Nation, has just been published in paperback.