More than three years after Hurricane Katrina killed 1,330 people and caused $96 billion in damages, Macy’s this weekend is returning to the New Orleans metropolitan area, launching a new 228,000-square-foot store and reopening a renovated 188,000-square-foot unit in a pair of suburban shopping centers.
At Lakeside Shopping Center in Metairie, La., Macy’s shares anchor status with Dillard’s, which reopened a renovated space two weeks ago, and J.C. Penney. The Lakeside store replaces the 235,000-square-foot Macy’s that was in the New Orleans Centre mall downtown, which has been shut since the storm.
Just 7 miles away, at the Esplanade mall in Kenner, La., Macy’s is competing against two Dillard’s: a 190,000-square-foot unit devoted to women’s, cosmetics and other categories, and a 45,000-square-foot men’s store.
The seismic changes triggered by Katrina compelled Macy’s to reassess its strategy in the New Orleans market.
“New Orleans underwent a significant shift in population,” said Liz Ambriz, regional vice president of stores. “We had to step back and look at the market once it settled to see where we could be positioned to best serve customers.”
Along with Dillard’s, Macy’s closest competitors in the area are Sears, Penney’s and Target.
Saks Fifth Avenue is the only major retailer to return to downtown New Orleans and is the sole anchor at The Shops at Canal Place. Saks’ sales year-to-date are up by about 3 percent, a satisfactory increase, given the state of the economy and the loss of six business days due to evacuation in August for Hurricane Gustav, said Carolyn Elder, vice president and general manager. With Dillard’s and Macy’s going head-to-head at both Lakeside and Esplanade, “there’s going to be a lot more activity at two already-active locations,” she said.
“We’re accustomed to competing with Dillard’s,” said Brian Williams, general manager of Macy’s Lakeside store.
Both Macy’s projects have been under construction for about a year. The three-level Lakeside store — and the shopping center’s new three-level adjoining garage — were carved out of the center’s chronically congested parking lot. The Esplanade’s two-level Macy’s was gutted so that only the exterior brick walls remained.
The dual openings this weekend will feature appearances by Tommy Hilfiger and Martha Stewart at an event tonight to benefit New Orleans’ high school for the performing arts.
The Macy’s stores are expected to employ more than 600 executives and sales associates through the holiday season, and settle at staffing of about 500 employees in January.
The stores are each 30 to 40 percent women’s ready-to-wear, but they have different merchandise mix strategies, Ambriz said. At Lakeside, a regional mall, the merchandise assortment will be a better-to-moderate ratio of 80 percent to 20 percent. The Esplanade store, more focused on customers in the surrounding suburban neighborhood, will have a better-to-moderate mix of 60 percent to 40 percent.
Among Macy’s rtw exclusives at Lakeside are Tommy Hilfiger and T. Tahari, while private label brands include Style&co, and INC International Concepts. Both stores feature aisles 12 to 15 feet wide paved in white marble tiles, and rtw areas are grounded in wood floors and carpet. Circular pendant light fixtures do double duty as sign posts headlining departments. Throughout the apparel departments, cozy lounges with wall-mounted TVs and upholstered sofas serve as foyer areas to fitting rooms.
Anticipating the parties surrounding the annual Carnival season in January and February, 40 percent of dresses in the two stores are evening gowns — the largest assortment systemwide, Williams said. The effort to tweak merchandise to meet local customers’ tastes extends to the sale of licensed apparel for the National Football League’s New Orleans Saints and the Louisiana State University Tigers, and the embellishment of the stores’ walls and carpets with the city’s iconic fleur-de-lis logo.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
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