HAMBURG, Germany — “Our most beautiful store so far,” declared Albert Kriemler, head designer of Akris, at the opening last week of the label’s new boutique here.
This story first appeared in the September 28, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Located on the exclusive Neuer Wall, next door to Louis Vuitton and just feet away from Cartier, Jil Sander, Versace and Armani, Akris’ 11th and largest German store is certainly upping the stakes.
By adding a black iron two-tier frame to the massive windows running along the store’s front, renowned Munich-based architect Christoph Sattler has transformed a postwar eyesore into one of the slickest stores on the block. Sattler was also responsible for Akris’ New York boutique, which opened on Madison Avenue last year. It has the same black-framed facade and served as inspiration for the new shop.
The 4,300-square-foot, two-floor Hamburg store has a sweeping stone staircase and a minimal interior of marble and maple. “We wanted the clothes to be able to speak for themselves,” said Peter Kriemler, Akris’ chief executive officer, adding that the store, with its many curves and niches, was designed to enable the customer to feel comfortable regardless of whether the shop is full or empty.
Although unwilling to discuss sales figures, Kriemler said that realistically Akris would be looking for sales of between 5,000 and 10,000 euros, or $566 to $1,132 at current exchange, a square foot.
But Akris has no intention of stopping at Hamburg. With stores already in Düsseldorf and Frankfurt, the aim is to reach five doors in Germany. Munich, with its more developed market, is the next priority, with Berlin to follow. Wider afield, the company has its eyes set on London. “From a business point of view it is difficult because of high prices there,” Peter Kriemler explained, “but as a market, London is very interesting for us. People in London go out a lot, and they dress up to go to work. That’s not always the case over here, where people turn up to the office in anything.”
— Damien McGuinness