SEATTLE--While many off-price chains are struggling for survival, Jay Jacobs Inc. is laying the groundwork for converting up to 28 of its units to the off-price format over the next year. "Off-price is still a good business, and we think we can get a piece of it," Rex Steffey, president and chief executive officer, said in an interview. Six of the specialty chain's poorly performing budget stores, called Fashion Direction, have been renamed DD Sloane and remerchandised with branded women's apparel at discounted prices. Jay Jacobs, based here, operates 156 stores, primarily under the Jay Jacobs name. It filed for Chapter 11 in May 1994 and expects to emerge from bankruptcy protection by November. The chain has closed more than 100 stores while in Chapter 11 and is remerchandising to emphasize private label women's apparel. The mall-based DD Sloane stores, which average about 2,000 square feet, are in Puyallup and Yakima, Wash.; Salem and Beaverton, Ore.; Kalispell, Mont., and Anchorage, Alaska. At the same time, off-pricers such as Marshalls, Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse and Filene's Basement are suffering declining same-store sales and getting battered by heavy markdowns to reduce inventory. Many of the chains also are attempting to broaden their merchandise assortments to overcome lackluster demand for women's apparel. Steffey, however, said he is "encouraged" by the sales trends at the six DD Sloane off-price units, which are running "a little bit" ahead of the former Fashion Direction budget outlets. He declined to specify a volume figure, but said the stores have enjoyed the normal "hype and short-term surge" of grand openings. After evaluating third and fourth quarter results, a decision on whether to convert the remaining 22 Fashion Direction stores early next year to off-price will be made. Jay Jacobs cut losses to $589,000 in the second quarter from $6.8 million. Total sales fell 29.7 percent to $18.8 million, a reflection of the widespread store closings. Same-store sales were off 1 percent. Three of the DD Sloane units opened last month and three debuted in late May. The stores carry in-season women's fashion merchandise from brands such as Guess, Esprit, Express and Victoria's Secret. "We have made it a priority to not buy cheap budget goods," Steffey said. "We try to find things that are good values and that have recognizable labels." He added, "Getting goods has not been a problem. We can expand that label base as we roll out more stores." Steffey hired his wife, Sue Steffey, late last year to develop DD Sloane. She had been a buyer and merchandiser for more than 20 years with Paul Harris, William H. Block and Filene's. To support the new division, Jay Jacobs has created a comic strip built around Dee Dee and her shaggy dog, Sloane, who "travel the world buying fantastic brands at terrific prices."The theme is used in mailers, print ads and in-store signage, hang-tags and banners. There also is an 800 telephone number for shoppers to call Dee Dee for tips and to offer suggestions. Rex Steffey described Fashion Direction as "a stepsister kind of strategy" that was created to get additional square footage in malls where the company had Jay Jacobs stores. Fashion Direction carried manufactured over-runs and other lower priced goods. Still, Steffey conceded, the past year has not been good for established off-pricers and department stores have pumped up promotions and reduced the price differential. "But we're not one of the heavyweights," he noted. "We don't need too many customers to do better than we were doing before. There are people who love the concept and people who hate it. We hope there will be more that love it." --Robert Spector Fairchild News Service
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)
@heriethpaul and @gracebol have a moment on the @victoriassecret fashion show 2017. See every look from the runway on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo) #wwdfashion #victoriassecret #VSFashionShow
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia