By  on February 26, 2009

Saks Fifth Avenue has opened a men’s-only store in Palm Beach, Fla., a traditionally strong market for the luxury retailer.

The store, which is a replacement unit, measures 4,200 square feet and is next door to the company’s existing women’s unit on the first and second floors of the 150 Worth shopping center. “Men’s was in another secondary location at the other end of the mall,” explained Ron Frasch, chief merchandising officer of Saks Inc. “It wasn’t adjacent to our store, which made it more difficult to manage. It was a challenging configuration.”

About a year ago, he said, “the opportunity surfaced and we took advantage of it.”

Formerly a specialty retailer, the new men’s store location is “airy and bright” and features “a real focused, edited assortment of our good, better, best merchandise model,” he said.

The store is merchandised with designer lifestyle shops and emphasizes tailored clothing from Brioni, Jack Victor, Zanella, Giorgio Armani, Polo Blue, Canali and Ermenegildo Zegna. Sportswear from Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Brioni, Zegna, Cucinelli and Ballin is also offered, along with accessories from Gucci, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Tumi, Emporio Armani, Salvatore Ferragamo, Cole Haan, David Donahue, Collarstays, Swiss Army, Fullum & Holt, Zegna and Abas. Neckwear is a significant part of the mix and includes ties from Brioni, Breuer, Carrot and Gibbs, Zegna, Armani and Charvet.

The store also marks the exclusive U.S. introduction of Lutwyche, an English tailored clothing line from Tony Lutwyche, who is selling his ready-to-wear and made-to-measure collection. Lutwyche suits are made in England and are hand-cut, fully canvassed and hand-finished. They retail for $4,425 and up.

Lutwyche, who is the official tailor of the British polo team, made an appearance at the store’s grand opening last week to fete the Westchester Polo Cup, which was played in nearby Wellington, Fla., on Feb. 21.

With the economic climate the way it is today and the store’s reduction in its capital spending budget, Saks could have walked away from the project, but Frasch said he was “pleased that we went forward with it. It was an opportunity to enhance our store in Palm Beach, which is a really good market for Saks.”

He said he expects the new men’s store to “strengthen our position in men’s wear in this market, and we hope to continue to grow our market share in a diminishing universe.”

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