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Jean Georges can’t make the claim of “over 47 million served daily,” as McDonald’s says in its tag line. And that’s precisely what separates the foie gras from the beef patties. McDonald’s has 284 outlets in New York City, but there’s only one Jean Georges. Similarly, Hermès could never produce 215 million pairs of shoes a year like Payless. There are 104 Payless stores, but just a single Hermès flagship. Gap has the largest number of apparel stores in New York City, which is not to say it’s the fast food of the fashion industry. With its recent fashion initiatives, it’s more like a steak sandwich.
- PAYLESS SHOES
The spokeswoman for Payless Shoes is Star Jones, the plus-size member of ABC’s “The View.” She designs styles such as the Starlet by Star Jones, a rhinestone toe-loop sandal with a kitten heel. Same-store sales at Payless ShoeSource decreased 1 percent in the five weeks ended July 3. Sales declined 0.7 percent to $289.2 million from $291.3 million in last year’s period.
Rainbow Apparel Companies Inc. specializes in trendy fashion for juniors, plus sizes and children. Founded in 1935, Rainbow has grown to more than 750 stores nationwide, including Puerto Rico. The Rainbow nameplates include Rainbow, Rainbow Plus, Rainbow Kids and Kidspot. The company, which tightly guards competitive information, is based in Brooklyn.
- FOOT LOCKER
Foot Locker operates three formats: Foot Locker, Lady Footlocker and Kids Foot Locker, selling Nike, Reebok, Adidas, New Balance, K-Swiss, Puma, Saucony, Ryka, Asics, Actra, Champion, Converse and Starter. Earnings at the Foot Locker, Champs, Foot Action and Eastbay stores rose 26.3 percent in the first quarter. Excluding discontinued operations, earnings rose 20.5 percent to $47 million from $39 million last year.
Since Gap ventured into fashion territory, its same-store sales have been in the positive column. Net income for the three months ended May 1 rose to $312 million from $202 million in the year-ago quarter. Traditionally, the company promoted the idea that Gap product was created by a nameless, faceless team of people. This year Gap began highlighting its designers, including Pina Ferlisi, who in April was promoted to executive vice president.
- ANN TAYLOR/ANN TAYLOR LOFT
Ann Taylor Loft, the lower-priced division of Ann Taylor Stores Corp., has been the driving engine behind the company’s earnings gains, which were 77.2 percent for the first quarter ended May 1. Sales for the division rose 54.6 percent to $185.4 million from $119.9 million in the same period last year. A new creative director and director of stores were named during the quarter.
Strawberry, in business in New York City since 1932, sells junior and women’s apparel, shoes and accessories. The chain appeals to women who want trendy fashion, from careerwear to eveningwear, at popular prices. Much of the inventory consists of brand-name clothing, but the company develops its own version of runway hits. Strawberry is owned by A&E Stores in Teterboro, N.J.
Bolton’s sells designer and branded contemporary women’s clothing, including casual, career and evening wear, at value prices. Bolton’s says its brand-name merchandise can be found at major New York department stores for much more money, hence its tag line: “If you’ve seen it before, you’ve seen it for more.” Stores range in size from 3,000 to 7,000 square feet. Like Strawberry, Bolton’s is part of A&E Stores.
- BANANA REPUBLIC
Venturing beyond wear-to-work styles, Banana Republic had a fashion epiphany this year. In June the company unveiled its fall looks, which included hints of Seventies London Boho, the Twenties and a Prada-esque “grandmother’s attic” theme. Sales increased to $503 million from $411 million over last year for the three months ended May 1.
- MAC COSMETICS
MAC Cosmetics was founded by two Canadians named Frank, who cooked up formulas in their kitchens. Their marketing approach coupled professional color cosmetics for makeup artists with social activism. MAC was one of the first firms to use drag queens as models, and it donated profits from a designated lipstick to AIDS research. When Estée Lauder Cos. assumed full ownership of the company six years ago, it was doing $65 million in sales. Last year’s sales reached $660 million.
- THE BODY SHOP
Founder Anita Roddick was one of the first beauty mavens to turn activism into a marketing tool. Roddick railed against animal testing and campaigned for sustainable farming and community trade. The company uses natural ingredients sourced in places such as Nicaragua and Zambia. While it has had its setbacks in the U.S., Body Shop continues to maintained a presence in New York. There are nearly 2,000 units worldwide.
SOURCE: NEWMARK NEW SPECTRUM RETAIL LLC, NEW YORK