The Brookfield Place Saks Fifth Avenue women's store in Manhattan, New York will close Jan. 5, a spokesperson for the retailer told Retail Dive in an email. "We have no plans to close our Brookfield Place men's store," she also said. The men's store opened in February 2017, according to a report from Women's Wear Daily.
The branch, which opened its doors in September 2016, "was a test concept where we learned even more about how our women's customers like to shop in New York City," according to the email to Retail Dive.
The department store's flagship on Fifth Avenue, which is undergoing significant renovations including the move of its beauty sales to the second floor, is "going to be the centerpiece of Saks' retail," the spokesperson told Retail Dive.
The closure of Saks' Brookfield Place women's shop isn't much of a surprise, nor is it a reflection of the kind of headwinds faced by the likes of Sears, J.C. Penney or Macy's, according to retail analyst Nick Egelanian, president of retail development consulting firm SiteWorks.
"Saks is in the high fashion end of the business and really competes on a completely different playing field," he told Retail Dive in an email. Still, the move does reflect the "overall weakness of the chain" as well as a "lack of a fully developed high end women's apparel market in lower Manhattan," he also said.
In its most recent quarter, the Hudson's Bay Co. owned department store saw comps rise 7.3%, its sixth consecutive quarter of growth, and off-price Saks Off 5th fall 2.3%. The company also runs faltering Lord & Taylor, and sold that flagship last year to coworking company WeWork as part of its effort to "right-size" that fleet.
Saks found that women prefer "a combination of our digital channels and our iconic Fifth Avenue flagship, where our Grand Renovation is creating an unparalleled luxury shopping destination," the spokesperson told Retail Dive. "The decision to close this location was not easy, and we intend to transfer as many sales associates to new roles as possible."
The office building complex, which is across from the World Trade Center in the Battery Park City neighborhood, enjoys traffic from "thousands of high income male workers in its office towers who are much more convenience and impulse oriented," according to Egelanian. "As a result, men's apparel concepts are known to do quite well there. I'm sure that was reflected in Saks' men's shop sales within the overall store numbers."
The Brookfield Place men's store assortment includes Hickey Freeman, Paul Smith, Rhone, Ferragamo, Suit Supply, Kamakura, Zegna, Bonobos, Club Monaco Mens and Allen Edmonds, Egelanian found on a recent trip there. And there's a J. Crew store in Brookfield Place with "a rare men's Ludlow department. So it doesn't come as a big surprise that the men's store at Saks would perform well," he said.