DALLAS — Beefing up casual lifestyle offerings and growing the women’s business were focal points this week at a meeting here of The Forum, an association of 13 independent luxury retailers representing an estimated $100 million in women’s sales.
Mario’s, with two stores in Portland, Ore., and Seattle, and Stanley Korshak of Dallas both will debut spin-off lifestyle stores in August.
“Women live very casual lifestyles in jeans, taking the kids around, and we want them to think of us for their whole lifestyle,” said Mario Bisio, owner of Mario’s. His lifestyle store, Mario’s 310 in Portland, will be 6,000 square feet and will aim for the $1,000-a-square-foot-plus performance of its larger siblings. It will offer premium denim lines for men and women, including Habitual and Notify; sportswear from Prada Linea Rosa, Loro Piana, and shoes, accessories music, books and eyewear.
Stanley Korshak will unveil the Shak, featuring men’s and women’s denim and contemporary fashions, lingerie and swimwear, in an 11,000-square-foot store across a courtyard from its flagship. The move enables Korshak to expand those classifications. Key lines will include Allen B., Diane von Furstenberg, Red Valentino, M Missoni and 12th Street by Cynthia Vincent, along with denim by True Religion, Seven For All Mankind and Prasad.
The Forum’s 13th and newest member, Stanley Korshak, hosted the four-day meeting of Forum members in Dallas that ends Wednesday. The group meets twice a year to evaluate business strategies. The stores are all in non-competing markets, so they are unusually open with one another.
The Forum was established in 1940 by men’s wear retailers who became friendly on a cross-country train trip to market in New York. In the last decade, all but two of its members have added women’s fashion, which they see as the biggest opportunity for growth.
“It’s a deeper level of sharing of all issues,” said Scott A. Malouf, chief executive officer of Malouf’s, which is based in Lubbock, Tex., and also has a store in Burlingame, Calif. “You really can network with like businesses, and everyone has expertise that you can learn from. We talk about everything from family succession to merchandising.”
The members are well-established, family-owned businesses, and many have multiple doors. They are: Andrisen Morton, Denver; Garys, Newport Beach, Calif.; Hubert White, Minneapolis; Kaps, Andover, Mass.; Kilgore Trout, Cleveland; Larrimor’s, Pittsburgh; Mitchells/Richards/Marshs, Westport, Conn.; Mario’s, Malouf’s, Lubbock; Oak Hall, Memphis; Rodes, Louisville, Ky.; Rubensteins, New Orleans, and Stanley Korshak.
Adrisen Morton bought a nearby women’s store, Auer’s, last September, and Garys has been developing women’s denim, sportswear and accessories in four of its 10 stores over the past 18 months. In addition, both Larrimor’s and Rodes have added women’s fashion in the past three years.
“Everyone is recognizing the power of men’s and women’s together,” said Bob Mitchell, co-president of Mitchells/Richards/Marshs.