Miu Miu is betting on a new shoe style to help counter a languishing retail market.
The Prada Group-owned brand has built shops-in-shop within Bergdorf Goodman and Isetan dedicated to its new lace-up ballerina flats, offering exclusive product in each with the intention to spur a sense of “retail tourism.”
The eccentric shoes, introduced on Miu Miu’s fall 2016 runway, comes fabricated in a rainbow of suede, satin and patent fabrications — each anchored with two black grommeted straps across the vamp, and gingham ribbons to lace up the ankle. Suede styles retail for $620.
Satin varietals of the ballerina flats were available for purchase at Miu Miu boutiques worldwide, but the company said they have sold out and are amassing a waiting list.
The last shoe design Miu Miu had hedged commercial bets on was its steel cap-toed, slip-on sneaker — introduced in 2014.
This April, the Prada Group, which is publicly listed in Hong Kong, reported a 26.6 percent drop in profits in the 12 months ended Jan. 31 to 330.9 million euros, or $364 million, compared with 450.7 million euros, or $590.4 million, in the same period in the previous year.
Miu Miu’s pointed ballerina strategy — notably aimed at a shoe style priced at under $1,000 — represents a push by the Prada Group to help resuscitate its numbers in the typically cash-cow market that is accessories. The category has stagnated in the last two years, with retailers pointing to a lack of design innovation as the culprit — prompting labels including Thom Browne, Proenza Schouler and now Miu Miu to revise their assortments in an effort to invoke excitement amongst consumers.
Stefano Cantino, group strategic marketing director for the Prada Group said of the Miu Miu ballerina strategy: “With the ever-challenging landscape of retailing, we try to offer the customer variation at different locations. Our customer is global and they find us wherever they are — so by carving out exclusive styles for different locations we are offering them the opportunity to collect on their travels and to purchase something that isn’t available everywhere.
“This goes back to a bigger strategy of offering the customer new and bespoke experiences around the world. The demand for this particular style has been great, offering specialty versions means that we do not over saturate the market place but instead build an offering which understands it.”
At Bergdorf Goodman, the ballerinas are situated in what is perhaps the shoe floor’s most-coveted space: A rounded table just off its escalator, reserved for shoes that are thought to be a commercial boon. Prior occupants include Aquazurra’s best-selling — and widely emulated — Christy lace-up flat.
Dangling from wooden frames, the ballerinas are “selling out quickly” said a Miu Miu representative. The display, set up two weeks ago, exhibits suede colorways exclusive to the boutique.
At Isetan, the ballerinas have a more formalized boutique build-out on the second floor of the department store’s Shinjuku flagship. The boutique — lined in Miu Miu’s signature ice blue damask wallpaper — includes exclusive patent-leather styles of the flat, some of which are lined in shearling. The shop is on view through Aug. 22.