Gilt is latching onto the frenzy surrounding Sunday’s Super Bowl to drum up interest in its new private label men’s brand. Called NHP, the collection will launch on the Gilt web site in June and rollout to sister Saks Off 5th stores in the fall.
NHP, which stands for New High Performance, will include both tailored clothing and sportswear and is targeted to the athletic Millennial male.
Wednesday night in Minneapolis, the host city of the Patriots-Eagles matchup this weekend, Gilt will host a cocktail party and preview the collection for the announcers, celebrities, professional athletes and influencers in town for the game.
“We are looking to develop a program for young, fashionable guys, and we think there’s a big opportunity for hip, cool, updated suits that are closer to the body,” said Tom Ott, chief merchant of Gilt and Saks Off 5th. “There are not a lot of options for those guys at the lower end of the market.”
The suits will retail for $495 and will feature high-performance fabrics and attributes such as comfort and flexibility, he said. Ath-leisure sportswear looks will also be offered.
At the event in Minneapolis, the looks will all be styled with sneakers to make the point that NHP is “fun and not so stiff,” Ott said.
He said the plan is to connect the brand to “rookies and up-and-coming” pro athletes that young men can relate to. “We think there’s a lot of potential in sports marketing,” Ott said.
Earlier this month, Hudson’s Bay Co. parted ways with Jonathan Greller, president of Gilt and Saks Off 5th, and charged Marc Metrick, president of Saks Fifth Avenue, with oversight of the divisions. Although the off-price sector has been among the most healthy in retail, Gilt and Saks Off 5th have been performing poorly.
Industry observers attribute the weak performance to ill-fated pricing and merchandise changes made a few years ago that included lowering the opening price points at Saks Off 5th to appeal to a wider audience and projecting more of an everyday low price message, rather than taking steep markdowns periodically as other off-pricers do. In the third quarter of 2017, comparable-store sales fell 7.6 percent at HBC’s off-pricers. In all of 2016, comparable sales fell 5.9 percent at HBC’s off-price units.