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NEW YORK — Lounge SoHo, the edgy 16,000-square-foot store on Broadway with a rock ’n’ roll vibe that closed in 2009, will be reborn on April 20 in Greenwich, Conn.
This story first appeared in the March 27, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
While preppy and conservative Greenwich seems like an incongruous match for Lounge’s club kid aesthetic, owner Jack Menashe said, “the new Lounge is not going to feel really rock ’n’ roll. Greenwich is perfect for launching Lounge.” The polished 2,000-square-foot flagship, opposite Saks Fifth Avenue, will focus on contemporary.
“This is the first of many, many stores,” Menashe said. “I’m very actively looking for other locations. We could open a downtown store and we could have a store on the Upper East Side or Upper West Side of New York. It takes a while to find the right powerful locations. I don’t want little baby stores. I want a lot of traffic.”
Menashe said he’s working on deals at top malls in the area. An outlet store is bowing at Jersey Gardens in Elizabeth, N.J., in August. Menashe said he’s negotiating a lease for a third store and plans to unveil four locations in 2013, then three to four units a year thereafter.
Asked how the stores are being financed, he said, “Jack Menashe Inc.” Menashe tried to roll out Lounge stores before. A unit was slated for the Cosmopolitan Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, but the owner defaulted on the property. A Lounge at Aventura Mall, north of Miami, closed in 2009. Menashe in May 2010 launched the Limelight Marketplace, 25,000 square feet of shops, restaurants and cafes housed in a former Gothic Revival church on Sixth Avenue and 20th Street here. A year after opening, Menashe reimagined the concept as a department store. “I handed it over to my partners a year ago and they’re operating it now,” he said. “I’m not really that in touch with them. I built it, sweated it, leased it and finished it. That was all part of the plan.”
Unlike the original Lounge SoHo, which closed in 2009, men’s wear won’t be sold at the Greenwich store. “We’re targeting a 22- to 45-year-old woman,” Menashe said, “someone very trendy and very sophisticated. There’s a big void in the contemporary ladies’ retail market. There’s a lot of juniors stores, but Forever 21 is controlling everything.”
In addition to brands such as Jamison, Madison Marcus, Rory Becca, Chelsea Flower, Liebskind, Botkier and Haute Hippie, Lounge SoHo will sell a private label brand, priced from $100 to $400. Art Zulu, a design and branding company with clients such as Sean John and Jennifer Lopez, is helping with Lounge SoHo’s branding.
The merchandise mix, 50 percent branded and 50 percent private label, “will encompass the whole downtown lifestyle,” Menashe said. “It’s all designed for the mother shopping with her daughter. The store is moody and dark with luxurious finishes. Lounge SoHo stores have a real downtown personality and that’s the way our buyer has been buying. A dressy top with a pair of hot jeans and a pair of high-heeled shoes. That’s the mix.”