STEVE MADDEN SET TO JOIN THE CROWD ON 34TH STREET

Byline: Melanie Kletter

NEW YORK — Steve Madden is bringing his quirky style to Manhattan’s 34th Street.
The fast-growing junior company, best known for its platform footwear, plans to open a store on the busy thoroughfare between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in the former Topaz location. The store is scheduled to open later this month.
The location will be Madden’s 58th retail unit and its fourth store in Manhattan. It will feature shoes, as well as the company’s range of licensed products, according to Mark Jankowski, president of Steve Madden’s retail division. At 3,000 square feet, the location will be the firm’s largest.
“This will be the first time on the East Coast for our new store prototype, which features innovative design,” Jankowski told WWD.
The store will embody a slightly more sophisticated design and will include new displays and new wall and floor units, as well as an orange and blue motif, he noted.
Action-packed 34th Street has become a key destination for many specialty retailers, including Old Navy, Banana Republic, Zara and Swiss chain H&M, which is scheduled to open there this fall.
Jankowski said 34th Street was “one of the most prominent retail locations in the United States, given the tourist traffic surrounding the Empire State building and the commuter traffic.
“We anticipate that this store will rival the other Manhattan locations in terms of shopping, traffic and sales.”
Steve Madden, chairman and chief executive officer, said he was particularly excited about the location because it was the original site of the 34th Street Bootery chain, which was “very influential” in his early career.
The publicly traded company has been expanding its product assortment and rapidly building its retail business, which accounted for about 30 percent of sales last year, according to Jankowski. Two weeks ago, Madden opened a store in the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, Calif., which also features the new design concept.
Earlier this year, Madden hired a new licensing director to build its licensed business, and recently the firm announced plans to start a new division called Stevies, focused on girls and tweens. Among the licensed Steve Madden products are leather sportswear, eyewear, hosiery, jewelry, outerwear and handbags.
The company has also had a good performance on Wall Street. While many apparel and fashion offerings have struggled to keep their stocks from falling to new lows, Madden is currently trading near its 52-week high of 22 11/16. Financial results for the first quarter are scheduled to be released Wednesday.