By Faith Hope Consolo,
chairman Retail Sales, Leasing and Marketing, Douglas Elliman
From haute to not, retailers are thinking outside the box (or shopping bag?).
Just look at some recent store announcements and openings: If there’s one theme in the last few weeks regarding New York City retail, it’s that our designers and major brands are not content with just appealing to their core shoppers.
Major designers are opening or reviving more affordable lines, while our beloved fast fashion chains continue to pursue haute couture appeal. Roberto Cavalli has revived Just Cavalli, bringing the brand to 434 West Broadway. Joe Fresh’s latest outpost (462 Broadway), on the other hand, will have a heavy sampling of its runway collection.
My friends at Alexis Bittar have debuted a fine jewelry line in all of its boutiques and resellers.
Why now? There are individual reasons for each of the above, from licensing issues to planned international expansion, etc. But brands and retailers are wise to cast as wide a net as possible these days. Shoppers remain cautious, as shown by September results. As I write this, Washington is still working (we hope) to resolve its issues, which could have a long-term effect on our recovery. So it pays in all senses of the word to have a line of more affordable items to enlarge a customer base.
Meanwhile, chains such as Target, H&M and now Fresh want to emphasize the “chic” part of cheap chic, to ensure that even the affluent will shop there for an item or two – or 12. It’s just good business.
Those of us in the business of matching stores and locations are doing good business. Uniqlo will pop up through the holidays inside the Union Square subway station. At press time, the Japanese mega-retailer was to open at Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn on October 25. The U.S. Polo Association will open a flagship store at 1540 Broadway. Anthropologie’s BHLDN bridal line popped up at its 1230 Third Avenue store this month. Los Angeles’ Decades also is popping up, inside 3 Ninth Avenue, featuring the clothes of Azzedine Alaïa and Jean Paul Gaultier.
Accessories chain Charming Charlie’s, well known in the suburbs, will make its Manhattan debut at 445 Fifth Avenue. Jeweler Anna Sheffield’s first boutique will be at 47 Orchard Street. Otte’s fifth shop in the city has come to 281 Mott Street. YogaWorks will make its Brooklyn debut at 210 Joralemon Street, in the same building as the borough’s first Sephora.
Brooks Brothers is entering the restaurant business, planning steakhouse Makers and Merchants for a summer 2014 debut at 11 East 44th Street. Proenza Schouler’s Soho shop is open at 121 Greene Street. Karen Lord Pilates Movement is relocating from Meatpacking to a larger space at 137 Duane Street in Tribeca.
On November 19, I’ll be speaking on the state of retail for my colleagues at CREW Connecticut at their Public Forum: Retail. Brad Hutensky, chairman of Hutensky Capital Partners and the most recent past chairman of ICSC, will interview me one-on-one about what’s happening now, holiday sales, and a look ahead both regionally and nationally.
The event will be held at the lovely Gershon Fox Ballroom at 960 Main Street in Hartford, a grand event space that (appropriately for me, at least) was once part of the G. Fox department store downtown. Cocktails begin at 5 p.m., and the program will last until 7 p.m. For more information, please visit http://www.crewct.org/events.php.
NYCREW’s year-end Annual Gala and Vanguard Awards Celebration has been set for Tuesday, December 3rd, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., once again at The Columbus Townhouse, 8 East 69th Street. As before, visit www.nycrew.org for registration.
And plans are well under way for the Women’s Special Industry Group year-end program at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ New York National Conference. Our event will be held Monday, December 9 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the New York Hilton’s Mercury Ballroom. Check www.icsc.org