By  on May 23, 2007

Saks Fifth Avenue is building up its shoe business in a big way, so big in fact that the store got a government-approved zip code — 10022-SHOE — for the 17,500-square-foot salon.

In addition, 10022-SHOE will be the name of the department, which is to open mid-August on the eighth floor of the Manhattan flagship, replacing the smaller fourth-floor shoe department.

"The shoe business has been quite strong, but we've had a very congested department on four," said Ron Frasch, president and chief merchandising officer who, along with Terron Schaefer, group senior vice president of marketing and creative chief marketing officer; Bill Herbst, vice president of visual merchandising; and Suzanne Johnson, group senior vice president and general manager of the flagship, unveiled details of the project at a luncheon Tuesday. Saks said that 10022-SHOE is the first store floor to be granted its own zip code by the U.S. Post Office.

Frasch described the space as residential, and designed so customers can interact and watch what other customers select, and get in and out of the department efficiently. The floor will have 8,500 square feet for selling, 9,000 square feet for storage, and an express elevator from the main floor.

The project reflects an effort to capitalize on what has been among the best-performing categories at Saks and other retailers, and maximize productivity at Saks' most important asset, the Fifth Avenue flagship.

Compared with the existing shoe floor, the inventory is being increased 150 percent, there is 50 percent more seating, 50 percent more selling space and 75 percent greater storage area, Saks said.

The floor is marked by a 70-foot curving wall of hand-blown bubble glass, and undulating walls along the perimeters with cantilevered shelving to create a flow of brands, mosaic tile columns, and an open, living room atmosphere with chandeliers and neutral tones.

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