Hermès’ newly expanded presence at The Shops at Crystals in Las Vegas makes a strong statement.
From the faceted oak entrance of the unique exterior facade and slanted vertical wood fins accenting the perimeter to the double-height windows, the store exudes a sense of importance. With 13,000 square feet of space, the two-level unit is nearly triple the size of the previous store’s 4,700 square feet.
Hermès operates two other units in Vegas, at the Bellagio and the Encore. The brand is bullish on the city and in 2020 will move its 3,000-square-foot store from the Encore to an 8,000-square-foot space at Wynn Plaza, a 70,000-square-foot retail expansion at Wynn Las Vegas Resort and Casino scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of this year.
“We could easily open a fourth and fifth store in Las Vegas and our distribution strategy would remain very limited,” said Robert B. Chavez, Hermès USA president and chief executive officer. “Las Vegas is unique. Yes, they travel around, but for the most part visitors stay in a hotel or resort that’s their favorite.”
Appealing to Las Vegas’ swelling tourist population, rapidly-growing categories such as the lower-priced enamel jewelry and leather jewelry collections, fashion accessories, fragrance and the silk collection were prioritized for high-visibility at The Shop at Crystals store’s ground floor.
“One of the big differences in the store design is in the accessories categories, which are given the corner location and a significantly enhanced presentation,” said Chavez said. “The women’s silk collection is displayed in a gallery setting, which enhances the visibility of every design.”
One of two counter concepts in the store, which opened Friday, is geared to Hermès’ perfume collections. Shoppers can interact with fashion accessories at a horseshoe-shaped counter bar with high stools. Hermès’ equestrian offering, which includes contemporary apparel, technical equipment and accessories for riders, horses and stables, is also on the ground floor.
The Crystals store is comprised of three universes for men, women and home, each with its own salon environment.
“We have a generous men’s universe lounge in the back of the ground floor that features ready-to-wear, shoes, hats and gloves,” Chavez said, adding, “We were able to expand pretty much every category. We have significantly larger shoe salons for men and women. We were able to enhance every product in a meaningful way.”
An elliptical staircase with a gilded metal bannister leads to the store’s second floor women’s lounge and rtw, shoes, swimwear, hats and gloves. Chavez said Hermès is creating a more unique selling environment such as the salon for fine jewelry and watches, which was “designed to enhance the shopping experience with a sense of intimacy and privacy.” High rollers can view items in the comfortable anonymity of the VIP hospitality room. “We have a lot of high rollers and VIP clients and will continue to have them,” said Chavez, adding that the feature was missing from the previous store setup.
For the first time in Las Vegas, Hermès will have a significant furniture and lighting presentation, as well as home decor such as fabric and wallpaper, a nod to the importance of local residential real estate development.
A welcome desk allows customers to arrange personalized shopping trips. Clients will also have opportunities to make products their own. “We’ll offer a lot of events throughout the year including monogramming, engraving and embroidering items,” said Chavez.
Like The Shops at Crystals, Hermès plans to add another level to units in Waikiki at the Royal Hawaiian Center and Post Street in San Francisco. “We’re opening the Waikiki shop in late March,” Chavez said. “We added a third floor. In November, we’ll move back and reopen our San Francisco store, where we’re adding a floor as well. If we’re really happy in our location, we’d rather expand where we are. If we love a location the way we do in Waikiki and San Francisco, we want to find a way to grow it.”
Hermès has been active on the new store front in spite of the harsh environment for brick and mortar that has other retailers reevaluating their expansion strategies. The brand in the spring unveiled a unit in Palo Alto, Calif., in January will open a store at the Mall at Millennial in Orlando, Fla., American Dream in September 2019, and the Meatpacking District in late April.
While the three-level 10,000-square-foot store on Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District would seem to have little in common with the Shops at Crystals unit, Chavez said the downtown Manhattan store will skew toward categories such as fragrance, scarves, enamel bracelets and silver jewelry that appeal to tourists and younger consumers.
A dinner for 200 guests on the eve of the store’s unveiling was held in the desert surrounding Las Vegas in a round glass greenhouse structure that looked like something from Burning Man when lit from within. Andrew Ondrejcak’s scenic design featuring a garden of larger-than-life silver cacti in the center of the space created a theater-in-the-round with musical and dance performances.