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Tom Kalenderian laughs when he acknowledges that his latest merchandising move is hardly earth-shattering.
But it’s something different for the Barneys New York Madison Avenue flagship, and the shift is already paying off in higher sales volume.
“We know it’s not revolutionary,” said Kalenderian, executive vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s wear at Barneys New York. “But we’ve never mixed sportswear and clothing in the classic genre before.”
Earlier this month, Barneys relocated the sportswear offering from four vendors — Isaia, Brioni, Kiton and Andrea Campagna — from the main floor to the seventh, where they are now being showcased alongside the company’s suits and furnishings. Zegna sportswear was also added to the upper floor.
“We’re branding it ‘The Luxury Wardrobe,’” Kalenderian said. “The concept is to make it simple so our customers can shop in one room. We’re positively positioning the product to enhance the customer experience. And since we made the move, we’ve had quite a few transactions.”
He said that by moving the sportswear from the main floor, “it changes the perspective of brands that are known for their clothing and makes them more of lifestyle collections.” Some customers who purchase Isaia suits may not even realize the brand has a comprehensive casualwear assortment. “It’s a different experience and creates a sense of discovery here on the seventh floor,” Kalenderian said. “It should encourage more inter-selling between categories.”
Because Zegna represents such a large business for the store, Kalenderian said the brand is being double exposed and some sportswear is still carried in the classifications area. “But there are different styles on the seventh floor,” Kalenderian said — ones that best complement the suits. The other four vendors are only available on the seventh floor.
The shops for these brands were also tweaked to showcase their casual side with tables and fixtures added to accommodate the sportswear.
Kalenderian said this is the way Barneys merchandises these brands in its branches, which have smaller men’s stores. But in the eight-level men’s store on Madison Avenue, it represents a shift.
It also hints at upcoming changes at the flagship, which is in the midst of a multimillion-dollar renovation. Sometime next year, the men’s main floor will be “rejiggered,” he said, “so why wait until next year to [train the customer] to shop all the floors of the men’s store? We said, ‘Let’s try and build a business now.’”
Barneys has been on a reinvention campaign since Mark Lee joined the company as chief executive officer in 2010. He has made significant changes in the executive team and merchandise offerings, and has worked hard to add new and exclusive labels. In men’s, that includes the Andrea Campagna collection, as well as Piombo, Black Fleece and a special collection of Michael Bastian tailored clothing and furnishings. “We were very successful with his sportswear so we asked him to create a tailored collection for us,” Kalenderian said of the Bastian line. Other new lines include Thom Browne underwear, dress shirts and neckwear; Ovadia & Sons; Camoshita by United Arrows; Salvatore Piccolo, and Rake.