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Department stores keep playing Can You Top This? with their shoe floors. In the last 18 months, Bloomingdale’s, Selfridges, Lord & Taylor, Bergdorf Goodman, Harrods and Lane Crawford all raised the stakes on the in-store experience to capitalize on strong sales growth in footwear. This fall, Macy’s will unveil what it calls the world’s largest women’s shoe department—39,000 square feet—at its Herald Square flagship. Saks Fifth Avenue, which set the bar high in 2007 with its 10022-Shoe floor, is said to be planning another update. Bergdorf’s contemporary shoe area is up for a revamp later in the year, while Barneys New York will create a full women’s shoe area on level five (after moving men’s Co-op to the eighth floor). Here, five stores fight it out in footwear.
No. of stores: 1
Flagship footwear space: Increased footwear floor space by 23 percent in September 2011 to about 9,000 square feet.
What’s hot: Single-sole pumps from Manolo Blahnik; smoking slippers.
Price range: Prices from $395 for sandals to $6,000 for strass-covered Christian Louboutin Daffodil platform pumps, which are a bestseller.
Floor look: Richly layered residential interiors comprising furnishings and objects evoking Italian designs of the Fifties and Sixties mixed with swanky Seventies America.
Special services: Exclusive in-store events for VIPs, including personal appearances by designers like Alexandre Birman and Christian Louboutin.
(Hong Kong & Beijing)
No. of stores: 5
Flagship footwear space: 37,000 square feet
What’s hot: Nicholas Kirkwood silk bird-print pumps, kitten-heel pumps in shaded skin by Edmundo Castillo, high sandals in mixed materials by Alexander Wang, a superplateau peep-toe pump with multicolor brushstroke by Christian Louboutin, the Dolly pump from Charlotte Olympia and candy-colored wedges by Jimmy Choo.
Price range: $125 to more than $1,000.
Floor look: A seamless separation between the categories of footwear, handbags and accessories that highlights buyers’ take on each season.
Special services: Preorder access; home shopping via a personal shoe stylist; VIP customers get to attend European shows and appointments.
No. of stores: 800
Flagship footwear space: 39,000 square feet
What’s hot: Wedges in mixed materials, single-sole pumps in neutral tones; colorblocking in bright neon
Price range: $50 to $500.
Floor look: New luxury shoe shops, a designer shoe salon and curated shoe closets inspired by New York’s trendiest neighborhoods.
Special services: A coffee, wine, chocolate bar concept, plus direct access to the second level of luxury-brand shops.
No. of stores: 1
Flagship footwear space: 8,000 square feet, which Harrods touts as the largest men’s shoe and accessories department in Europe.
What’s hot: Tod’s driving shoes; Lanvin’s python sneakers in turquoise; made-to-order styles by Stemar and Magnanni.
Price range: From 85 pounds, or $135 at current exchange, for a KG by Kurt Geiger style, up to 12,000 pounds ($19,000) for a bespoke alligator skin and gold style by Stemar.
Floor look: The masculinity and glamour of mid-20th-century New York, with sleek marble floors, opulent glass display cases, rich ocher rugs and custom leather chairs.
Special services: Its made-to-order range and an on-site shoe-shine service.
NEXT: Bloomingdale’s >>
(U.S. & Dubai)
No. of stores: 41 full-price; 7 outlets
Flagship footwear space: 20,000 square feet
What’s hot: Stuart Weitzman, Sam Edelman, Ivanka Trump, B Brian Atwood.
Price range: From $40 for Keds to $1,195 for Giuseppe Zanotti Crystal platform pumps.
Floor look: Cement floors and open ceilings for a mix of minimalism atop romanticism.
Special services: First in the U.S. with in-store shops for Tory Burch, Sam Edelman, Havaianas and Ugg.