The Hudson Bay Co., which last week completed its deal to acquire the $550 million Gilt Groupe Holdings Inc. for $250 million, has decided to open a Gilt retail shop inside the upcoming Saks Off 5th store on 57th Street in Manhattan, WWD has learned.
Both are scheduled to open March 3.
Gilt’s 57th Street setup will be the first of what could be many permanent Gilt shops-in-shop at the off-price chain operated by HBC, though executives are not ready to disclose any other possible sites.
“We are completely focused on opening this one, gathering our learnings and making it successful,” said Jonathan Greller, president of HBC outlets, who is overseeing Gilt. “We want to walk before we run.”
Greller said the 57th Street Gilt shop will be different from past Gilt pop-ups and warehouse sales. Inside the 47,333-square-foot Saks Off 5th store, at 125 East 57th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues, Gilt will have a 1,000-square-foot space right at the landing of the escalator to the first below-ground selling floor. Off 5th will have two selling floors, both below ground.
In addition to merchandise on display, there will be a “Gilt by Appointment” station so customers can work with stylists and a video wall showing fashion, editorial content and a calendar of sales.
Events on Gilt.com will be replicated at the shop and customers will be able to buy Gilt products on display, and walk out with Gilt shopping bags, which are being introduced for the brick-and-mortar shop. Customers will also be able to shop Gilt.com in the store with sales associates who will have iPads. Gilt has new sales every 36 hours, generally at up to 70 percent off.
“If an event launches on Gilt online at noon on a Wednesday, we will unveil that same curated assortment at 12 o’oclock in the store,” Greller said.
Customers will be able to return Gilt products bought online to the brick-and-mortar site, though they won’t be able to pick up online orders there, at least initially.
To promote Gilt at Saks Off 5th, the company is running an ad campaign themed “the power couple.”
HBC hopes to enhance its mobile and personalization strategies by leveraging Gilt technology across all of its banners, which include the Hudson’s Bay, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and Kaufhof department stores. HBC also hopes to improve the performance of the once high-flying Gilt, which has been under pressure partly because its flash sale format has been widely copied and luxury sales generally have been tough. Gilt, which will maintain its own buying and management teams separate from other HBC divisions, specializes in fashion and accessories for women, men, children and home decor.