Saks deconstructs the department store with 3 new concepts
Saks Fifth Avenue on Monday announced the opening of a trio of stores in the upscale town of Greenwich, CT, a collaboration of international retail design firm FRCH Design Worldwide and owner Hudson Bay Co.’s global store design team.
The three stores include 14,000-square-foot "10022 SHOE," the first women’s specialty shoe store in Saks history; the two-story "The Collective," also 14,000-square-feet, featuring women’s contemporary fashion; and the 6,000-square-foot "The Vault," the department store’s first dedicated specialty jewelry store, with curated mutli-brand shops-in-shop, according to a press release emailed to Retail Dive.
The shimmering effort is in contrast to Hudson’s Bay Co.’s approach to Lord & Taylor, its other American department store banner, which saw its flagship location sold to co-working startup WeWork last month.
Hudson’s Bay Co. is a deconstructing of the traditional department store, wrenching three departments apart to create a trio of specialty shops. Greenwich is a savvy choice for the experiment, considering its concentration of wealth, reputation as an upscale shopping destination, proximity to New York City and residential feel.
"We looked at transforming Saks’ brand language into a localized approach that could be not only an elegant and immersive shopping experience, but a place that was comfortable, serving as an everyday social gathering place," Heesun Kim, vice president and creative director at FRCH, said in a statement. "Greenwich’s downtown is replete with historic architecture that serves as a beautiful canvas to bring a balanced design aesthetic between the voice of Saks’ brand and the local atmosphere."
The shoe store is in a mid-century brick building, filled with natural light, and features lounge seating that "blurs the line between retail and residential," according to a press release.
The Collective is in the same building, features 53 designer brands, jewelry, handbags and a Tom Ford makeup bar, as well as multiple boutique tenants, according to a press release. The store, which took advantage of the building’s second floor, has a newly installed elevator that provides a "center core experience" wrapped with polished copper. The Collective, like the new shoe store, features an open living room-like space to encourage relaxation, according to a press release.
The announcement is a bit of good news for the Saks parent, a sign that its core retail business still has life. In recent months, the company’s retail operations seemed to take a back seat to its real estate ambitions, culminating in CEO Jerry Storch's abrupt departure last month amid pressure from activist investors to unleash value from the company’s recently accumulated property holdings.
Storch’s departure however, hasn’t done much to mollify the activist, Land & Buildings led by founder Jonathan Litt, the investment firm issued a ferocious statement following Storch’s resignation, describing it as a "consolidation of power" on Baker’s part that underscored "the board’s attempt to buy time and placate investors to address underperformance and undervaluation."
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