MEXICO CITY — Saks Fifth Avenue Mexico will open nearly 15 luxury shops-in-shop in its store in Mexico City’s wealthy Santa Fe quarter and plans to open its third store in the city’s increasingly affluent Perisur area, said Edgar Smolensky, who recently was promoted to chief executive officer of the retailer.
“This is going to be our most significant investment,” Smolensky told WWD of the future Perisur location in the megalopolis’ southern tip. “A block sketch is ready and there is a project to open in a couple of years.”
The store is expected to be about 106,000 square feet.
The location will add to Saks stores in Polanco and Santa Fe, which the chain has opened to profit from booming luxury consumption in Mexico, Latin America’s second-biggest economy.
As part of that strategy, Saks — which is owned by the world’s second-richest man Carlos Slim — will remodel part of its 170,000-square-foot Santa Fe location to accommodate a string of brand expansions to operate large shops-in-shop. Smolensky said the brands will finance the bulk of the expansion, for which he declined to reveal figures.
To begin the blitz, Valentino will roll out a 1,900-square-foot shop this week, followed by Céline’s 2,400-square-foot shop in March or April and Saint Laurent’s men’s and women’s 4,250-square-foot boutique in August, which Smolensky said is Mexico and Latin America’s first.
The other shops will open in summer including ones for Christian Louboutin, Alexander McQueen, Jimmy Choo, Stella McCartney, Givenchy, Isabel Marant, Oscar de la Renta, Emilio Pucci, Azzedine Alaïa and Dsquared. Many labels will carry their men’s collections for the first time, including Louboutin, McQueen, Balenciaga and Jimmy Choo, according to Smolensky.
The expanded stores will add to existing ones for Chanel, Hermès, Fendi and Ferragamo, among others, he added.
The executive, who also hosts a Mexican fashion review show on Sony Channel Latin America, said the in-shop openings were unrelated to archrival El Palacio de Hierro’s new luxury emporium in Polanco, billed as Latin America’s largest high-end department store.
“Not at all,” he said. “This has to do with our sales volumes [high-double digits] and brands’ needs to have bigger spaces in the Santa Fe area. We are still the biggest ultra-luxury shop in Mexico and Latin America. Our clients are not looking for logos or price value but rather the latest, more distinct super-luxury merchandise. It’s another clientele” than El Palacio, which Smolensky said focuses more on aspirational luxury.
Saks exclusively carries high-end labels in Mexico like Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, Céline, McQueen and McCartney, “brands that didn’t want to go to El Palacio, even after they spent all that $300 million [to build the new Polanco],” he said. “We are the biggest seller of Hermès’ Birkin bags in Mexico; we sell Oscar de la Renta ready-to-wear for $20,000 plus. You can’t find this anywhere except Saks.”
Smolensky added Saks — and owner retailer holding Grupo Sanborns, which also owns Sears Mexico and the Sanborns retail and restaurant chain — just launched a new e-commerce site called Claroshop.com, Mexico’s answer to Alibaba but with the added perk of allowing shoppers to pay through installments on their Telmex phone bill. Slim’s telecommunications arm owns Telmex.
Saks’ sales will rise 20 percent this year to an undisclosed sum, said Smolensky, adding that Sears is also doing well with plans to roll out 10 new stores in 2016 from eight openings this year.