In a challenging retail landscape, where Manhattan alone has experienced the loss of longtime fashion institution Barneys and the addition of Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue remains steadfast in retaining its role a top luxury retail player.
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On Wednesday, FN toured the revamped space with Saks’ team members. Despite ongoing retail concerns regarding the coronavirus, the women’s shoe floor and the remaining Saks’ floors were bustling with shoppers.
“Saks has always been the leader in women’s footwear, and we are confident that the newly renovated floor will continue to reflect our dominance in the category,” said chief merchant Tracy Margolies.
The 22,600-square-foot space, which adds 10% more selling space to the floor, now showcases over 2,500 styles from more than 60 brands.
“It’s critically important to evolve,” said Will Cooper, SVP and general merchandise manager of women’s shoes. “We decided to invest in our New York flagship, knowing there’d be changes in the landscape. So the great thing is, with these changes, the majority of our renovation is complete. Now, we think it competes on a global scale.”
The floor’s new design is inspired by New York’s Central Park. Fifteen shop-in-shops for established designers such as Christian Louboutin and Roger Vivier surround the space and represent Manhattan’s characteristic buildings. The center of the space signifies the park, complete with “rock formation” display tables and flower fixtures.
“It’s our sense of discovery,” explained Cooper, who noted the center area is focused on emerging brands.
Over the past six months, the retailer has added 10 new labels to its offerings, including Amina Muaddi, Midnight 00 and By Far. “Our goal is to develop long-term partners. It’s very exciting to watch a brand go from a small table to maybe one day a shop-in-shop,” he added. In addition, the store’s high-traffic atrium area near its elevators will be used as a pop-up and take-over space to highlight budding designers.
Technology is front and center, too. For example, all Saks sellers are armed with iPads so that they can edit down and find styles as quickly as possible for customers on the move. This also enables the store to leverage its inventory, the company noted. Cooper said a key objective of the overhaul is to create ease and fluidity.
By launching the renovated floor this month, Saks expects the latest spring collections will attract customers, with sport sandals and loafers leading the season’s hottest trends. “We’ve made a conscious effort to balance our assortments,” said Cooper. “We have plenty of sneakers in the right places, and [this] has opened up a conversation on comfort within all shoes in the market.”
To celebrate the revamped eighth floor, Saks is launching a philanthropic campaign donating 1,000 pairs of shoes to each of its key charity partners: NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital, Bring Change to Mind and The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
In addition, from March 26 through March 29, Saks will donate to the charities 10% of women’s shoe sales generated at Saks New York and on Saks.com.
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