Restoration Hardware CEO Gary Friedman has got a message and he’s not afraid to convey it in capital letters: “We need a MASSIVE CHANGE IN OUR CULTURE AND ATTITUDE RIGHT NOW.”
That’s part of an internal memo that Friedman sent to the furniture chain’s employees in late January, lamenting a lack of focus, high order-cancellation rates at the company’s RH Modern retail concept, and issues addressing customers’ needs. The content of the memo, which was reported by Bloomberg, was confirmed in an interview with that publication. Fortune also reached out to Friedman and will update this story if a statement is issued.
The memo Friedman sent to rally his team was certainly colorful. Another choice quote? “NO ONE WAS FOCUSED ON THE PEOPLE IN THE BUILDING WHO WERE ON FIRE. THEIR CLOTHES BURNING, AND MANY OF THEM DYING. WE HAVE LET CUSTOMERS DIE.”
But notably, Friedman wasn’t always a fan of corporate memos. In an interview with Fortune last year, when discussing his experience working as an associate at Gap (GPS), he said he was perplexed at the time about the memos sent by the high-level executives at the apparel retailer.
“You get all these dumb memos at headquarters saying ‘Today we need you to do this right away in the store,'” Friedman recalled. “And you think, ‘Don’t these knuckleheads know how busy we are in the store today.'”
Friedman, a colorful and passionate retail executive, had reason to be concerned. Restoration Hardware’s shares sank earlier this week after the company announced preliminary fourth-quarter results that fell well short of investor expectations. Friedman listed several factors for the retailer’s shortfall: the oil bust hurt sales in Texas and Canada and a crazy stock market hindered demand.
He also flagged an issue with shipments to the company’s new RH Modern concept, a line of larger retail stores that Restoration Hardware debuted last year. Friedman said that while the initial response has been “outstanding,” there were shipping delays as vendors struggled to ramp up production of the new product lines.