Saks Fifth Avenue, which has been tiptoeing onto the international stage, took a big step Wednesday by opening its first store in Mexico.
The three-level, 150,000-square-foot unit in the upscale Santa Fe Shopping Center in Mexico City is a test to determine the potential for more stores in the country.
Saks described the unit as "congruent" with others in the luxury chain, in terms of product and service, and geared to cater to local tastes. Merchandise includes established and emerging designers and shop-in-shops for Salvatore Ferragamo, Kiehl's, Hermès and Giorgio Armani. The store also has restaurants and the Fifth Avenue Club for personal service.
If the concept resonates with consumers, Saks and Grupo Sanborns, which is licensed to own and operate Saks Fifth Avenue stores in Mexico, will develop more stores.
In addition, Saks has been eyeing Japan, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Macau and India, among other locations. Saks is one of the few upscale department stores that is internationally recognized and transportable, largely because of its huge Fifth Avenue flagship in New York and key locations in portal cities such as Miami, San Francisco and Los Angeles that attract tourists, including those from Latin America.
Saks has two licensed stores in the Middle East, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Dubai. The company's first licensed store in China is scheduled to open in 2009. In the U.S. there are 54 Saks Fifth Avenue stores and 49 Saks Off 5th stores, as well as saks.com and the Club Libby Lu specialty shops.
Stephen Sadove, chairman and chief executive officer of Saks Inc., said international expansion is not a core strategy, though it's a good way to elevate the brand and broaden its reach, without taking too much risk.
"While our principal focus remains on improving the operations of our domestic stores, the opening of select international licensed locations can broaden the reach of our brand and produce a supplemental income stream for the company," Sadove said in a statement.
With licensed sites, Saks receives an up-front fee plus an additional annual amount based on a percentage of sales, though there's no equity involved and therefore less potential for the business to profit. Saks' international team, headed by vice president David Pilnick, is involved in site selection, merchandising and store design, but does not build or operate the overseas units."We believe that we will fill a void that currently exists in the Mexican market by catering to a discerning luxury customer,'' said Carlos Hajj, ceo of Grupo Sanborns.
Mexico-based Grupo Sanborns is a subsidiary of Grupo Carso, which controls and operates retail, industrial and consumer businesses. Within retailing, Grupo Carso operates Sanborns, Sanborns Café, Mixup music stores and Sears and Dorians department stores, as well as the Oakley, Mask, Pier 1, Sasch and Von Dutch specialty stores, among others. The company also owns and operates shopping centers in Mexico City.
Grupo Carso is controlled by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helú, one of the wealthiest men in the world, and the largest individual shareholder of Saks. Helú and his family hold about 13.3 million Saks shares, or 8.7 percent of the total shares outstanding.
Yesterday, the Parisian fashion house @azzaro_official cut the ribbon on a temeporary retrospective at the wing of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. The exhibition, which shows the lasting influence of the brand’s founder Loris Azzaro, is titled “Azzaro, Fifty Sparkling Years” and presents 50 looks. In it’s ’70s heyday, fans of the brand included Jane Birkin, pictured here, Raquel Welch, Brigitte Bardot and more. See more photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@trinaturk and @macys Inc International Concepts line are linking up on a collection for summer — filled with accessories, swimwear and shoes. The collection will also include a Mr Turk men’s line, both of which are the designer’s first entry into a more accessibly priced area. “It’s very world-traveler, gypset-inspired,” said Turk. The Trina Turk x INC line will launch on May 15th. #wwdfashion
Assouline is paying homage to the late Azzedine Alaïa with a reprint of "Alaïa Livre de Collection.” The book is comprised of photographs of the designer's summer 1992 runway show with models Christy Turlington Burns, Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks, pictured here at right. #wwdfashion #alaia #tyrabanks
Fall 2018 accessories take on a painterly hue, with Nebulas Blue among Pantone’s top 10 colors of the season. (📸: @jonghyupstudio ; editor: @twallz21 ; stylist and set designer: @haideefindlaylevin ) #wwdaccessories
@americanapparelusa is relaunching the brand outside of the U.S. today, opening its online store to more than 200 countries. The company is also contemplating a return to brick-and-mortar, though details have not been confirmed. In tandem with the expanded distribution is a recasting of a social media ad campagn, called “Back to Basics,” pictured here, with a focus on diversity and a cast of models above the age of 21. Read more on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Exclusive: @britneyspears is continuing to expand her brand. The pop icon, who appears in @kenzo ’s latest campaign, is partnering with Epic Rights to launch a line of branded merchandise. Read @hernameislex ‘s story, link in bio. #wwdnews #britneyspears
The Duchess of Cambridge channeled Princess Diana’s look upon giving birth to Prince Harry, when she and the Duke of Cambridge departed the hospital with the new baby Prince this afternoon in London. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge
The new Prince of Cambridge has arrived! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge posed with the 8-pound newborn. She wore a look from one of her go-to designers, @jennypackham. Tap link in bio for more. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge