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. Bergdorf Goodman (New York)
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.
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.