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Saks Launches Corporate Gifts

NEW YORK — Saks Fifth Avenue has launched a corporate gift program, which it projects could ultimately become a $50 million business. <br><br>The new strategy reflects efforts by Saks in the past few seasons to become more of a destination for...

NEW YORK — Saks Fifth Avenue has launched a corporate gift program, which it projects could ultimately become a $50 million business.

The new strategy reflects efforts by Saks in the past few seasons to become more of a destination for gifts. Corporate gifts is a relatively untapped market, underserved in the luxury sector, though Tiffany’s does it on a significant level. The corporate gift-giving industry is estimated at $4.8 billion annually.

“We think it’s a great opportunity for us,” said Christina Johnson, president and chief executive officer of Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises, adding that Saks has lined up some corporate clients already, but declined to specify.

While Tiffany’s corporate gift selection is oriented toward silver, crystal and awards, the Saks program leans more to leather goods, scarves, desk accessories, cosmetics and food. Also, Tiffany offers products under its own label, while Saks features branded as well as private label merchandise.

“We’re offering differentiated products — corporate gifts not currently offered in the luxury category,” said Jaqui Lividini, Saks’ senior vice president of fashion merchandising and communications.

This week, Saks is distributing a 50-page corporate gift catalog, which will have two editions a year. About 100,000 catalogs have been mailed. The catalog features about 150 items, including Burberry trench coats, umbrellas and totes; Baccarat crystal paperweights; Bulgari watches; Jo Malone lotion and candles; Kiehl’s skin care products; CDs; men’s custom shirts and ties. A Christofle silverplate pebble of peace is expected to be a best-seller. There are also items from Mont Blanc, Coach and Val St. Lambert, and such offbeat items as Dunhill watch cufflinks and sterling silver golf tees and Penhaligon travel candles. The gifts are packaged in a signature pewter Saks Fifth Avenue box topped with silver or red ribbon for the holidays. Customization and engraving is also available.

Saks has formed a direct selling organization for corporate gifts covering four regions — East and West Coasts, Midwest and Texas — which will call on corporations. Cathy Di Silva, vice president of business development, heads the program and reports to Lividini. Di Silva is also involved in forming strategic alliances between Saks and other firms.