The retail landscape is being remodeled as economic volatility compels stores to alter traditional formats.
Large chains are breaking out the most profitable or promising segments of their businesses, such as accessories, sportswear and denim, into smaller stand-alone footprints. Other retailers are trying to appeal to a younger demographic with new labels and edgier store concepts.
BCBG launched BCBGeneration to target a younger crowd and A|X Armani Exchange opened a new concept store in Los Angeles that doubles as an event space and features an art gallery.
Guess is revamping its accessories-only concept, and plans to open more than 40 of those doors globally over the next year. It started with a store in Aventura, Fla., in May, and a second last month in Rome. The company’s Guess denim stores also have a new look and are branded separately from other company lines, such as G by Guess.
“These days, everybody is specializing in one thing or another,” said Paul Marciano, vice chairman and chief executive officer of Guess Inc. “To have across-the-board success in all categories is very hard. Very few nondiscount companies can do it. The emporium-style shopping experience doesn’t work anymore if you want to maintain any kind of brand value or identity.
“Customers are well educated, have clear ideas about what they want and they come to shop for those items,” he said. “It’s hard to mix, in the same space, lines with different identities.…We believe the smaller footprint is easier to manage and more profitable.”
Even luxury doors are getting in on the retail revamps.
Catherine Malandrino’s Los Angeles concept boutique, Malandrino Maison, evokes a lounge atmosphere, including a Parisian-style cafe, artwork and books for sale.
“In this environment, with clientele feeling so much pressure, you have to make it a warm, comfortable environment they will want to come visit and relax,” Malandrino said when her Los Angeles store opened last year. “If you can bring them in, then the retail sales will come. But it’s getting people into a boutique now that’s the challenge first.”
Vera Wang, who scaled back plans for her Los Angeles boutique and jettisoned a store for her halted Lavender line, said her approach to retail has changed in the last two years.
“People want a more intimate experience now,” she said. “You can’t just cram things down someone’s throat — and you wouldn’t want to — especially now that they think they can get a better deal at department stores. You have to give them a reason to come in, a special experience. When the majors went 90 percent off, it changed things so much, it was unbelievable.”
That approach contrasts with the large formats of fast-fashion valueretailers, including Forever 21, H&M and Zara, which embrace biggerstores housing a wide range of merchandise.
“For us, the timingcouldn’t be better. The consumer is looking for value and the largerstore concept allows a broader array of merchandise across allcategories,” said Larry Meyer, executive vice president and chieffinancial officer of Forever 21. “There’s been a lot more opportunityfor us to get larger spaces, and in primary markets where we’ve beenlooking to grow our presence.”
Analysts said the trend towardsmaller, average store sizes will have staying power because those unitsare regarded as more profitable and easier to manage. With inventory atmany stores slashed by as much as 30 to 40 percent compared with threeyears ago, there is diminished need for storage space.
“Theconsumer is in control, and the approach of retailers to theirbrick-and-mortar stores now is a testament to the divergence in themarket — it’s a high-low approach,” said Alan J. Barocas, anAtlanta-based retail consultant and former International Council ofShopping Centers trustee.
“Some people are going the opposite,like Forever 21 and other value-oriented big boxes, but outside ofdiscounters, generally people are taking less space for less money andlooking to edit,” he said. “There are smaller door counts, too, asretailers are trying to use stores as a test ground, but at lessoverhead cost than in the past.”
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion