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Saks Fifth Avenue has thrown its muscle behind the trendy Scandinavian label Sand.
This story first appeared in the May 9, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The upscale retailer recently installed a shop for the Copenhagen-based men’s brand on the seventh floor of its Fifth Avenue flagship, and results have been “explosive,” according to Tom Ott, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s wear. “We’ve been working with [the brand] since the fall of 2011, and we love it. So we put in a shop for this season.” He said the line’s use of color, fancy detailing and “great design and silhouettes” has been embraced by the store’s customers and ties in perfectly with Saks’ move to attract a younger man. “We think it’s a great line for a younger-thinking consumer,” Ott added. “It’s our plan to make the product assortment timely and youthful. We’ve found that old guys want to look young and young guys want to look cool.”
Ott said Sand is carried in all Saks doors and he is looking for opportunities to open additional shops outside New York City.
Creative director and chief executive officer Søren Sand, who creates the line with his wife Lene from a villa in Como, Italy, launched men’s wear in 1989; a women’s collection followed in 1991. The line developed a following in Europe and entered the Canadian market five years ago and the U.S. three years ago. The brand operates showrooms in Toronto and New York City and is carried in 65 independent stores in Canada, including Harry Rosen, according to Rian Gardiner, executive vice president of Triluxe, Sand’s North American distributors. It is also stocked in 120 boutiques in the U.S., including Traffic Los Angeles, Rand + Statler in San Francisco, Mitchells in Westport, Conn., M Penner in Houston and Syd Jerome in Chicago. The brand offers three distinct sublabels: the colorful Pink label, the more-tonal Black label and the modern and sometimes over-the-top Red Carpet collection. “The design speaks to the 25- to 40-year-old head-set,” Gardiner said.
“We’re Scandinavian, and it’s all about design in Scandinavia,” Sand said, pointing to the architects and other creative types who hail from that region. “That is our roots, but we also love the values in Italy and the sartorial way they do tailoring. So we bring the two worlds together.”
The price points are also appealing to a younger guy, Ott said. “There’s a real fashion-value relationship,” he said, noting that suits retail from $895 to $1,100 and feature semicanvas construction, pick stitching and fancy detailing.
“For us, this provides a new and exciting point of view and adds to the equation. The modern, updated, cool way of dressing is what’s working at Saks,” Ott concluded.
Last year Sand partnered with Michael and Sara Dovan, founders of Traffic, to open a 2,500-square-foot store in West Hollywood, which has performed well, and Gardiner said the plan going forward is to expand in the U.S. through additional in-store shops, freestanding retail stores and further development of its women’s line, which currently represents 35 percent of the brand’s $200 million in global sales. Volume in the U.S. is $20 million, Gardiner said.