“I never thought I would splurge for a store on Fifth Avenue.”
That’s shoe designer Stuart Weitzman, discussing his 1,600-square-foot flagship, at 675 Fifth Avenue opened earlier this month, and how he’s thinking big about retail expansion.
Two weeks ago, Weitzman opened an 1,800-square-foot flagship boutique at 701 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, and in December, shops will open in Scottsdale, Ariz., the Mall of America and Tampa. For 2012, openings are slated for New Orleans; Hackensack and Short Hills, N.J.; Palo Alto, Calif.; Los Angeles; Chestnut Hill, Mass; Charlotte, N.C., and Boca Raton, Fla.
Overseas, 35 stores are planned next year for Korea, Taiwan, Asia, the Middle East, Germany, Spain, Italy and Vienna. And in China, where there are currently three stores, 50 are seen operating in three years.
“Landlords are looking to fill space,” Weitzman said, explaining why he’s rolling out stores now. In addition, “Women want to find something wonderfully made, styled right, and doesn’t mean they have to spend a fortune on it. I think I am kind of benefitting from women looking for a little more value for the buck. It drives you on.
“On Fifth Avenue, from 53rd to 59th Street, you have the highest-priced goods in the world.” But he says he’s an “entry point luxury brand” and can compete with the most luxurious of brands in the immediate vicinity. In fact, he sees Fifth Avenue becoming his largest-volume store, projecting $8 million in sales in the first year thereby, matching volume at his Madison Avenue store, the current revenue leader in the Weitzman store fleet. In subsequent years, he projects the Fifth Avenue store will generate $10 million annually.
The Fifth and Michigan Avenue sites were designed with a contemporary look by Italian avant-garde architect Fabio November. The sites were previously occupied by Nine West, which, like Weitzman, is owned by Jones Apparel Group. Jones has a 55 percent stake in Weitzman.
“Jones saw us as a good investment, with great growth opportunity and entering a market they are not in, and we could benefit from Jones’ back-office operations and the clout it has negotiating leases,” Weitzman said. “They taught us how to build stores more efficiently.”
However, the expansion, he said, is being financed entirely through Weitzman operations. “The company has always financed its own expansion. Jones hasn’t been called upon.”
Even with the rollout, “retail is still only a small part of our business,” and not about to overtake the wholesale portion, Weitzman said. His shoes are sold at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Scoop, Nordstrom, Lane Crawford, Bergdorf Goodman and Harrods, as well as at Weitzman’s 34 stores in the U.S. and 44 abroad. “Wholesale is three quarters of the business; retail, one quarter,” he said. “It will be pretty much the same, maybe retail will creep up 5 percent.”
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