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NEW YORK — Madison Avenue will welcome Brazilian footwear import Schutz early next month, just in time for Fashion’s Night Out.
The 1,101-square-foot store, located at 655 Madison Avenue, between 60th and 61st Streets, is the brand’s first freestanding unit outside of Brazil, where there are now 35 doors (this year saw the opening of 30 stores in Brazil). Schutz will open with an event during FNO on Sept. 6 with 15 fall styles exclusive to the New York location. There will also be a selection of women’s apparel, handbags and small accessories.
The label — known for its bold heels and platform sandals accented with studs, spikes, glitter or leopard print — has been available in the U.S. in a wholesale capacity since fall 2009, at retailers such as Nordstrom, Shopbop, Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus. But next month will see the first domestic retail push for the line, which retails from $150 to $300, according to Alexandre Birman, vice president of Arezzo&Co., Schutz’s parent company.
According to Birman, Schutz sees the opening of one new store a week on average, with plans to end 2012 with 50 stores in Brazil. The company operates on a five-week lead time from production to delivery, and last year alone, Schutz produced 2 million pairs of shoes with each collection, boasting 400 new styles.
“We’re taking a chance and bringing it here, but the speed [at which we grow] will be in alignment with the customer reaction,” Birman told WWD, showing a rendering of the location here. “We’re prepared to pull the trigger in terms of financial structure and expand in 2013, still with a focus in New York.”
He said that the brand has created a “definitive store design,” a concept in line with each of the brand’s existing stores, developed by Studio 65’s Giovanni Bianco and designed by Brazilian architect Bel Lobo. Birman maintains that product is always the focal point — set against modern, minimal black-and-white elements such as white cubes, high-gloss white flooring, black carpets and full-length mirrors.
The São Paulo-based line was founded in 1995 and is one of four brands under the Arezzo umbrella. The company has been publicly traded since February 2011, and the four brands combined did over half a billion dollars in sales over the last 12 months. Schutz is the contemporary line, offering on-trend styles that retail from about $150 to $300. Of the other brands in the portfolio, Arezzo — the namesake line founded in 1972 — sells casual, midheel career shoes that average around $100, while two-year-old Anacaori only sells flats (ballerina slippers, flip-flops and sneakers) that cost about $50 a pair. Alexandre Birman is the luxury label of the company’s brands.
Birman calls Schutz the fastest-growing brand in the group, having increased sales by 55 percent so far this year versus 2011.