By  on June 8, 1994

NEW YORK -- Saks Fifth Avenue's flagship store is going after a new customer with its renovated fifth-floor bridge and contemporary department.

The floor, with 23,000 square feet of selling space, was under construction for a year. It reopened at the end of April with polished white and gray marble and granite floors, white walls and a mixture of fluorescent and incandescent lighting that simulates daylight.

It is the last of the flagship's nine selling floors to undergo a major redesign, according to Larry Hill, Saks' senior vice president and general manager of the flagship.

"We really started by revamping the entire ready-to-wear allocation in the building," he said. "We made our second and third floors more pure designer and evening, we made the fourth floor career sportswear, the seventh floor is now dresses and bridge petites, and so forth."

The casual bridge market was the one area where Saks had been slow to respond "in terms of being a target area, a growth area," said Bill Lynch, director of merchandising for the flagship, "Now we're ready to take it on."

Hill added, "This [floor] assimilates all of our lifestyles. There's the couture customer buying jeans, the bridge customer buying her weekend wear. The store has become very easy for customers to read."

Designer casual bridge lines such as CK Calvin Klein, Company Ellen Tracy, Ralph by Ralph Lauren, DKNY and Adrienne Vittadini Sport form the core of the selling space, said Lynch.

"We've surrounded these designer collections with casual classifications -- swimwear, activewear, the casual shoe department," he said.

Other vendors -- several of them from Los Angeles -- include Max Studio, Eileen Fisher, C'est Duo, Susie Tompkins, Go Silk and Go Linen, Vivienne Tam, Tees Tease, Adrienne Vittadini, Laundry by Shelli Segal and David Dart. Most are not new to the store, said vice president and divisional merchandise manager Lynne Ronon.

"The resources that are new to this floor are more in the casual active area," said Ronon. "We had David Dart on the fourth floor, but our intention was always to move it up here, and the same with Max Studio."

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