Amid recession-driven layoffs, Margo Andros is giving a positive twist to the expression “pink slip.”
Andros expanded her lingerie boutique called Pink Slip to a larger location at Grand Central Station in Manhattan in May and is poised to double annual sales to $2 million by early 2012. Now ensconced in the former Godiva chocolates enclave in the Lexington Avenue passageway, retail space has more than doubled to 773 square feet from the 337-square-foot shop she operated since February 1999 a few paces away.
Andros described Grand Central as a “gold mine with thousands of people” passing by her boutique daily.
“Right now, sales-per-square foot average $2,100 for the new store,” said Andros, who was formerly a special events coordinator for the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon, working for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. “Before, it was $3,000 per square foot, but I’ve only been open in the new location since May 4. We are at the average for the moment, but we are seeing strong sell-throughs on key items.”
Andros said securing retail space at Grand Central is “extremely competitive” because unlike shopping malls, pedestrian traffic is guaranteed by commuters and tourists.
“Everyone is required to present a business proposal and they have to bid for a location with the [Metropolitan Transportation Authority], she said. “There is a break-even point, a threshold [in the contract]. For me, it’s $2 million, and anything above that the MTA gets 8 percent of sales.”
Men, especially husbands and boyfriends looking for a holiday or birthday gift, or even an item for a romantic weekend, have long accounted for the lion’s share of the store’s consumer base. But several visits at different times of the day revealed the store pulls in a strong following of women 20 to 50.
The jewel box boutique was designed by David Palachec, studio design director of TPG Architecture, who also worked on the Old Navy and Pottery Barn Kids projects. With the format of the boutique designed with fashion foundations in colors and prints merchandised on one side of the shop on wall displays, and basic bras and undies merchandised on the facing wall and inside drawers, shoppers can quickly find what they want.
“With commuter traffic in and out, if the customer can’t find it, we lose a sale,” Andros said. “We wanted to make it easy for him or for her to make a purchase.”
A big draw is the two fitting rooms, one of which is large enough for several people to lounge about in a softly lit white-on-white environment, but has an element of privacy in one of Manhattan’s largest public domains.
Regarding top-selling categories, Andros singled out fashion bras and hosiery. So far, the top 10 items are mainly thongs, including Hanky Panky’s signature style, Cosabella’s Cutie Thong, Eberjey’s Delirious Boythong, the Commando Thong, as well as the b.tempted’s Laced Tanga, the Little Minx Bombshell Slip, Levante’s Lace Top Stockings the Voluspa Black Tin Candle, and two control items by Spanx.
Andros added best-selling items that just arrived are the Panache’s Deep Porcelain Bra, the Little Minx Floral Slip, neon bras and thongs by Spank, high-waisted knickers inspired from the Forties by Blush and jewel-tone halter bodysuits by Lisa’s Folly.
Prices start at $34 and go to $150.