DALLAS — A prototype flagship in Houston coupled with an ad campaign launched last November anchor a strategy to recast Bailey Banks & Biddle’s image from a venerable bridal jeweler to a store for all reasons.
At 7,700 square feet, the new store at the Houston Galleria is nearly double the size of the average Bailey’s and carries a larger breadth of fashion styles in colored gems, as well as an expanded home and gift area. Its softer, more residential decor features a seating area with cushioned armchairs and a coffee table that displays semiprecious jewelry and Daum crystal ornaments under its glass top.
“We want to take Bailey’s, with its 172-year history of great service, quality and value, and update it and present it to the target customer, who is 35 to 45 years old,” explained Charles Fieramosca, president of Bailey Banks & Biddle. “She has changed over the years, and we need to tell her that we are the store for her.”
That’s why Bailey’s changed its motto from “World Renowned Jewelers Since 1832” to “Where Treasures Live” in a widespread ad campaign in upscale fashion and lifestyle magazines. Fieramosca is testing billboards as well.
Bailey’s is the guild division of Zale Corp. in Irving, Tex., a Dallas suburb. Spanning 31 states and Puerto Rico, Bailey’s 109 stores are mostly located in malls in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast and on the West Coast, plus Texas.
When Fieramosca joined Bailey’s in April 2001, the chain’s only designer jewelry was a smattering of David Yurman. Fieramosca’s first move was to bring in color with Laura Gibson’s faceted semiprecious beaded styles. Instantly successful, it was rolled out dramatically to all stores. Today, leading designer resources include Yurman and Gibson as well as John Hardy and Roberto Coin.
“As important as bridal is to us, so is fashion, because today’s modern woman has a need for day-into-evening jewelry,” Fieramosca noted. “It’s refreshing because it is luxury elegance. What we try to do is develop our product mix carefully so we don’t have duplication. We’re careful about who we partner with and how we allocate our space so we can make this co-branding statement the right way.”“Bailey’s sales have improved this year, and it’s been one of the best-performing divisions at Zale’s,” observed William Armstrong, senior analyst with C.L King & Associates, a brokerage firm in Albany, N.Y. “They have more differentiated product in the stores and have benefited from the overall trend that seems to be favoring luxury.”
Zale’s sales rose 4.2 percent to $2.3 billion for the fiscal year ended July 31, and comparable-store sales gained 3.9 percent. Fourth-quarter and fiscal-year earnings will be announced Tuesday. The company announced in July its intention to buy up to $50 million of Zale common stock on the open market, its eighth consecutive year of repurchasing stock.
With its neutral palette of cherry wood, fawn suede and brushed nickel, the Houston Galleria store is what Fieramosca deems a “10th-generation” leap over a smaller 3,000-square-foot prototype unveiled last year at Las Vegas’ Fashion Show Mall.
“The Houston store has state-of-the-art fiber optics lighting, lower-profile display cases and a softer palette so it would be all about the jewelry,” he explained. “What we’re trying to create here is a very high-touch environment.
“The growth expectation is quite high for both of these stores,” Fieramosca asserted, though he declined to be specific.
He’s considering opening a similar unit next spring at King of Prussia Mall outside Philadelphia, where Bailey’s originated in 1832 as Bailey & Kitchen.
Bailey’s stores average 4,000 square feet and roughly $3 million in annual sales, he said. Houston got the first big unit because it’s one of Bailey’s best markets, with a total of five stores.
“Where we have the opportunity to take a larger space in an established trading area that has the potential to justify it, then we certainly will do it,” Fieramosca said. “We’re placing an emphasis on distinctive merchandise and service, and doing it in a warm and fuzzy, hug-your-customer kind of way.”
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye