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Bergdorf Gets a Kick Out of Shoes

NEW YORK — Bergdorf Goodman is putting a new shine on its shoes.<br><br>The Fifth Avenue specialty store unveiled the third phase in its head-to-toe overhaul last week with a new, 7,300-square-foot shoe salon, twice the size of the former...

Bergdorf Goodman’s new shoe salon has a residential feel.

Bergdorf Goodman’s new shoe salon has a residential feel.

WWD Staff

NEW YORK — Bergdorf Goodman is putting a new shine on its shoes.

This story first appeared in the September 9, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The Fifth Avenue specialty store unveiled the third phase in its head-to-toe overhaul last week with a new, 7,300-square-foot shoe salon, twice the size of the former footwear department.

“We have a strong shoe business and saw an opportunity for growth with more space,” said Robert Burke Jr., Bergdorf’s senior vice president and fashion director.

This is the third area to get a facelift, after fine jewelry on the main floor, and beauty, which moved to the basement in 1999. As reported, the retailer is looking to step up its appeal to a younger and hipper crowd while growing its classic businesses to keep its older clientele.

Bergdorf’s productivity levels are said to be around $1,500 in sales per square foot. With total selling space of 193,000 square feet, the total combined annual volume at the men’s and women’s stores for the fiscal year ended last July is estimated around $280 million. At that rate, the shoe department would rake in about $11 million a year.

The new shoe salon was designed by Randall Ridless and features four interconnected rooms with furniture inspired by Arbus, Ruhlmann, Ponti, Poillerat, and Jansen. “We wanted a sense of walking around and discovering different areas,” said Burke.

Each room is outfitted with sofas and armoires and such details as mohair, paisley, embroidery, and bouillon fringes. A domed silver-leaf ceiling adds to the salon-like mood.

“We wanted this to feel very Bergdorf and very residential, with coffee tables, end tables, lamps, a large table with orchids…we didn’t want just rows of shoes on walls,” said Burke. “Women don’t just buy one pair, they buy in multiples. If you have a comfortable environment, and you don’t have to get up to see 25 pairs around you, it’s almost like putting out candy.”

Bergdorf’s new shoe salon has more than 60 designers, including Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Chanel, Gucci and Oscar de la Renta. Newcomers to the department include Alexander McQueen, Alexandra Neel, Roldolphe Menudier, Dian Broussard and Istvan Francer. Price points are $350 and up —and “up goes way up,” said Burke.

From January to August, the division of Neiman Marcus will renovate part of the main floor and the balance of the second floor, which will bring together rtw and accessories of designers including Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Giorgio Armani. “[The shoe salon’s] philosophy of creating a residential environment will be the driving force behind the philosophy of our upcoming renovations,” said Burke.

And last week, it wasn’t just the shoes that were getting some of the attention. “We have already had numerous requests for the salon’s furniture,” Burke quipped. “At this point, we are looking into having the furniture produced and sold at the store.”