This week the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship in New York City opened "The Vault," dedicated lower-level space for fine jewelry and watches from more than 25 brands, (20 new to Saks New York), including one-of-a-kind and limited-edition pieces, "as well as the largest selection of men's watches Saks has ever offered."
At 12,000 square feet, The Vault more than doubles the area dedicated to the category and contains six jewelry shop-in-shops, eight vendor-designed watch shops, two private VIP rooms and an International Lounge catering to foreign tourists and offering repair services, according to a company press release. A centrally located Exhibition Space will feature "brand partners, guest curators, special collaborations and more."
The Vault is the latest feature of the Manhattan flagship's Grand Renovation and connects the main floor, lower level and second floor through the new Rem Koolhaas-designed escalator. But The Vault is also found online, with monthly online trunk shows and "exclusive private digital events for top clients," the company said.
"As New York City's newest destination for high fine jewelry and timepieces, The Vault takes the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship experience to the next level," Saks Fifth Avenue President Marc Metrick said in a statement. "Our significant investment in creating this new space supports our commitment to further Saks's position as the preeminent New York City luxury destination ... The Vault is another dominant category presentation and the epitome of our New Luxury strategy focused on individuality, personalization and ease."
To the extent that The Vault, like other spaces including a new men's shoe department, may be geared to foreign tourists, the revamp may be ill-timed. Tiffany & Co., for example, has watched sales fall from a decline in Chinese visitors to New York. And a bubbling trade war plus economic woes in Europe made worse by Brexit have fueled the value of the U.S. dollar.
"Considering the current trade war with China and the fact that the USD is stronger YoY vs. most key foreign currencies, we would expect tourist spending to be a headwind," according to an Aug. 26 note from Wells Fargo Senior Analyst Ike Boruchow, whose team named tourist spending as one reason they are "negative on holiday" this year.