NEW YORK — While H&M has helped to revolutionize the specialty store approach to fashion with its cheap-chic merchandise scheme, it wasn’t the first to try this tactic.
In 1987, Robert Glick bought the 26-store Midwestern regional closeout chain, Bobby G, and converted it into what is now known as Dots. Two months ago, he reached a milestone: the privately held Solon, Ohio-based retailer, opened its 300th store in the Franklin Square plaza in Bloomfield, N.J., along with a new look and trend-driven concept.
Glick declined to reveal annual volume, but said its stores generate 50 percent higher sales-per-square foot than its competitors. One Price Clothing store, which operates more than 620 stores in the U.S. with a similar format, has annual sales of $250 million. Consistent with that, market sources said Dots has a volume of about $300 million.
"The original concept was to offer trendy clothes for $10 or less and it ran that way into the mid-Nineties," Glick explained. "As time went on, stores like this began to open and there was a lot of the same in the industry."
He said the discount chains expanded and outlet malls flourished, leading the firm to change its concept.
"Also, styles changed with denim becoming more popular and we couldn’t sell jeans for $10 or less," Glick said. "It just couldn’t be done."
Today, Dots offers trendy fashions at $20 or less, with some suede outerwear pieces selling for about $22. The majority of its brands are its own with three private labels — two for sportswear and one intimate apparel. But Deborah Sokoloski, executive vice president and general merchandise manager, said the traditional Dots customer cares more about the look than the label.
"Our customer is somewhere between 15 and 45 years old with a young attitude and moderate income," Sokoloski said. "The most important thing to her is the look."
While Sokoloski and Glick admit that they are "fashion followers" and not leaders, they make sure to offer customers the sharpest price possible. Last spring, the store was all over the hippie look, offering such styles as hip huggers, peasant blouses and fringed handbags.The company has also spent years perfecting its fits. Glick said the store attempts to make every item true to size so that if a woman is a size 6 in one pair of pants, she will be a size 6 in every pair of pants sold at Dots.
"Our size scale must be working, since we are noticing less and less of our customers trying things on," Glick said. "And most of the customers coming into the stores are repeat customers. Our employees have relationships with the customers and know many of them by name when they walk in the door. They trust us and after some research we found that 69 percent of our customers see us as a destination store."
The strategy includes a rapid turnover of product, often on a weekly basis.
"We almost never reorder items," Glick said. "Instead, we evolve the best-selling items into something else. When a trend is big, we showcase it in the stores as a whole look, so the customer can purchase everything to achieve that look."
While H&M and Dots each offer trendy fashions at a low price, he said that even if an H&M opened up right next to a Dots store, it would not matter. Dots, which has stores in 22 states, is still cheaper than H&M. Dots stores average between 4,000 and 6,000 square feet, but according to Glick, more square footage will be added to the more than 50 new stores planned to open in 2003 and 200 more stores planned by 2005.
"We opened 40 stores this year, so we are planning to top that next year," he said.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)