Bonobos is opening its first location in one of New York’s five boroughs, a 2,500-square-foot guide shop at 173 Court Street in Brooklyn.
It’s the online retailer’s 40th guide shop, Bonobos’ showroom-cum-store hybrid, and the first to open since its acquisition by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was announced last month. In that deal, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant paid $310 million for Bonobos and installed its founder, Andy Dunn, in the role of senior vice president of digital brands, overseeing Wal-Mart’s growing collection of “digitally native vertical brands,” including ModCloth, Shoebuy and Moosejaw. Dunn reports to Marc Lore, president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart U.S. e-commerce and founder and ceo of Jet.com, which the retailer bought last year for $3.3 billion.
Justin Fantasia, a retail broker at RKF, who’s been working with Bonobos since 2012, said Wal-Mart had no influence on the Court Street location. “We’ve been looking in Brooklyn for some time,” he said. “It was always the plan to begin with. Bonobos’ expansion plan is full steam ahead. It’s an aggressive expansion. Nothing has changed.”
In an interview with WWD on June 19 after the Bonobos deal was announced, Lore indicated that he’s not averse to opening brick-and-mortar stores, saying, “If it’s working you do more.”
Bonobos is on track to open more than 15 guide shops this year. Fantasia declined to give the exact number, saying only, “It’s more than they’ve done in the past.”
The Brooklyn Bonobos guide shop consists of 1,700 square feet of space on the ground floor and 800 square feet on the lower level of a four-story brick town house on the east block between Bergen and Dean Streets in Cobble Hill. The heavily trafficked shopping destination serves some of Brooklyn’s most affluent neighborhoods with retailers that include Barneys New York, Rag & Bone, Lululemon Athletica, Free People, Sephora, Urban Outfitters and Benefit, among others.
Bonobos, whose flagship is at 95 Fifth Avenue, operates guide shops at Brookfield Place in lower Manhattan; 488 Madison Avenue at 51st Street; 35 Crosby Street, and 45 West 25th Street.
“We’ll be looking uptown next,” Fantasia said. “The farthest north we’ve gone is 51st Street, so that should give you an idea. Potentially, we could open in the Meatpacking District. Obviously, Bonobos sees lots of success from having these brick-and-mortar locations. It helps customers understand the brand and get the feel it.”
As an online brand, Bonobos is adept at capturing data about customers and potential shoppers. “One thing they don’t do is open stores unless they have customers there,” Fantasia said.