New York & Company Inc. is ready to elevate the profile of its online subscription-box service, called NY&C Closet."We see NY&C Closet as a test for an indefinite period of time, but we are looking at ways to expand it and raise the overall awareness," Robert Ferrario, New York & Co.'s vice president of strategy and growth initiatives, told WWD.In an interview at New York & Co.'s headquarters on West 34th Street in Manhattan, Ferrario portrayed the specialty retailer as getting increasingly innovative and moving forward on different channels for growth. As Ferrario observed, women's specialty retailers, lifted by the rising tide in retail sales in 2017, are coming off of one of their best holiday seasons in years, encouraging them to step out with strategies to offset volume declines from store closings.The publicly listed company, which is 49 percent owned by Irving Place Capital, shuttered more than 150 locations since 2012, bringing it to 450 locations, while expanding its digital business to represent 30 percent of volume. New York & Co. also has 125 outlets. "As you close stores, it forces you to work harder on other delivery models," Ferrario said, adding that NY&C Closet was quietly launched in July.NY&C Closet blends the subscription box and rental models in retailing, taking cues from such businesses as Netflix, Rent the Runway and Stitch Fix. Others operating in the subscription-box format, which is fast growing, are Nordstrom's Trunk Club, Gwynnie Bee and Old Navy's Superbox.With NY&C, for $49 a month, you can rent up to three New York & Co. garments at any time with an option to buy any of the items. Once a customer has built their virtual closet, they can prioritize items in their queue and wear and return as often as they’d like, always receiving up to three garments in the next box. They receive the next box after the three garments are returned or purchased. Shipping and returns are free and clothes are dry-cleaned.The NY&C Closet (nyandcompanycloset.com) taps New York & Co.'s assortment, including the exclusive five-year-old Eva Mendes collection. The emphasis is on wear-to-work and casual fashion covering all occasions, and affordable prices, with sweater dresses, pants and tops mostly priced between $50 and $100; casual T-shirts and sweatshirts are priced less.According to Ferrario, the web sites have been kept separate to avoid confusion among customers. There's also been time to work out any kinks before opening up the NY&C Closet to a broader audience via nyandcompany.com.He said the test has been small, but with a national sample large enough for reliable results. He declined to divulge any statistics on how many people subscribe to NY&C Closet, or its revenues at this early juncture.[caption id="attachment_1202579226" align="alignnone" width="300"] Shoppers can rent or buy clothes from the NY&C Closet subscription service.[/caption]Among other growth maneuvers last year, New York & Co. purchased the Fashion to Figure eight-unit retail chain for plus sizes, which was launched in 2004 by the great-grandsons of Lena Bryant, founder of Lane Bryant; a collaboration with actress Gabrielle Union emphasizing fashion-forward looks was introduced, and the Eva Mendes collection extended its offering and size range.For the third quarter, New York & Co.'s net sales increased 0.1 percent to $214.2 million; comparable-store sales rose 2.2 percent. For the fourth quarter the retailer has guided the market to a low, single-digit percent total sales gain, and a low, single-digit comparable-store gain. Gross margins are expected to be up. For the trailing 12 months, sales are listed at $915 million.The positive outlook is based on recent trends, and preliminary findings at NY&C Closet is adding some optimism. "We are entering a new phase with NY&C Closet," said Ferrario. "We've been pleasantly surprised by the results. People are less hesitant about the idea of renting clothes" that go from body to body.He also feels that renting clothes is a good way for people to try out styles or labels new to them, without going to the expense of buying them, Ferrario added.With NY&C Closet, "We're still learning and still understanding," he said. "But we have never gotten complaints that the clothes feel worn or used."
“I think what’s so interesting about the #MeToo movement and this whole new wave of feminism in general, is that women are finally seeing, ’Oh I can start my own company, oh I can lear to code, oh I can leave my nine-to-five job and do the thing I want to do,” said @brooklyndecker ahead of her @sxsw talk for @createcultivate. The former model took the stage to share wisdom about networking and female-driven entrepreneurship. #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech at the @sxsw conference for @createcultivate, the online platform and conference series for women. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.