NEW YORK — Aéropostale’s first street-front flagship here, on West 34th Street steps from Herald Square, drew a crowd Tuesday for its soft opening.
The 5,700-square-foot unit — the chain’s mall units average 3,500 square feet — is taking up residence in one of the city’s busiest retail districts, near 15 subway lines, Penn Station, Madison Square Garden and Macy’s.
“We’re doing over $600 a square foot as a chain,” said Thomas Johnson, executive vice president and chief operating officer, predicting that sales per square foot at the 34th Street flagship “will be much higher.” He declined to be more specific, saying, “We’re trending on our plan in terms of sales.”
The majority of Aéropostale’s units are in malls, including one at Manhattan Mall, blocks away from the 34th Street store.
Johnson, who next year will become co-chief executive officer with Mindy Meads, Aéropostale’s president and chief merchandising officer, said, “The new store could have an effect on the Manhattan Mall unit,” but added that the stores appeal to different kinds of shoppers, one seeking a mall experience and the other geared to street customers. “We gave that [Manhattan Mall] store a facelift and added 800 square feet. We put a P.S. Aéropostale [geared to elementary school kids] next to it.”
More than a decade ago, Aéropostale opened a store on Manhattan’s East 86th Street, another heavily trafficked retail corridor, but closed the unit because “it was way too early for our evolution to be on the street,” Johnson said. “We had many more mall stores left to open.”
The new flagship “gives us an opportunity to see how we operate” a street store, he said. “There’s a variety of locations that we’re looking at. When you go around the different boroughs, you see Aéropostale on a lot of people. We want to give them a lot of distribution.”
The flagship represents a new prototype for Aéropostale. By the end of the year, 250 stores of the total 939 units will be in sync with the latest model.
“In the last 12 to 24 months, we’ve taken a more thoughtful approach to store design, including the store’s exterior,” Johnson said.
Above the cash wrap is a 20-by-9-foot graphic of young, fresh-faced boys and girls wearing Aéropostale’s colorful hoodies, T-shirts, sweaters and jeans. “We wanted something to attract people to the back of the store,” Johnson said. A stronger attention-getter may be found in the store windows: signs reading “Graphic Ts for $5 while supplies last.”
Dressing rooms have a grid ceiling with lights that cast star shadows, a red bench and dressing room doors that fog up when a customer enters. Johnson said the doors were tested to ensure they provide coverage. “We’re very careful about being appropriate,” he said. “In our lifestyle imagery throughout the store, we like smiling, friendly, upbeat people in our photos.”
Aéropostale next week begins a campaign featuring ads on city buses and phone kiosks, airing commercials on Z-100 radio and print ads.
“Thirty-fourth Street is only going to get better,” Johnson said. “Esprit is moving next door. We like being near American Eagle Outfitters, which is across the street. It adds to our traffic.”
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)