Crate & Barrel has taken a very patient approach to rolling out its CB2 concept, which features chic, but low-cost furniture more in the mold of Ikea. But the company took a big step in raising the concept's profile with the announcement that it will launch a catalog for CB2 with an initial circulation of 1.2 million customers.

The company opened the first CB2 store in Chicago in early 2000 and there was talk of a nationwide rollout. But since then Crate & Barrel has opened only one other CB2 location, which is also in the Chicago market.

The company was mum on whether the catalog is a prelude to taking the concept out on wider basis. The firm operates 145 Crate & Barrel stores nationwide.