Rothmans is further solidifying its position as one of the last remaining multibrand men’s stores in New York.
The retailer, which began life in 1914 when Harry Rothman started a pushcart on Delancey Street, will open its fourth New York store in Manhattan West, the new super-development that is slated to open on Manhattan’s West Side later this month. Rothmans’ flagship is located on Park Avenue South in Union Square. It also operates units in Scarsdale and Bronxville in Westchester.
Rothmans president Ken Giddon and his brother Jim teased the news of the new store with an Instagram post where they were both pictured wearing hard hats with the name Manhattan West on them.
Manhattan West is a $5 billion mixed-use project by Brookfield Property Partners in the Hudson Yards neighborhood of Manhattan. The eight-acre, six-building development spans 7 million square feet and is located from 31st to 33rd Streets between Ninth and 10th Avenues. It includes office buildings, luxury apartments, a boutique hotel and 225,000 square feet of retail and restaurants as well as two acres of public open space. Brookfield did not return calls to provide comment on what other stores have leased space at Manhattan West.
The development will link the new Moynihan Station to the far West Side of Manhattan by means of a walkable extension via 32nd Street, according to SOM, the architects of the project. It was made possible through the construction of a 2.6-acre platform over the active rail tracks that service Penn Station. On Tuesday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled designs for a new connector that will link the High Line to Moynihan Station via Brookfield’s publicly accessible Magnolia Court that runs through the Manhattan West development.
Giddon said the 2,000-square-foot Rothmans store is currently being built and he expects it will open on or around the center’s grand opening on Sept. 28. The Union Square store is 11,000 square feet, Scarsdale is 3,500 and Bronxville is 1,000 square feet, he said.
“Like most other retailers, we were in dire straits during COVID-19,” Giddon said. “But when there’s fear in the air, like there is now, you have to be aggressive. We’re blessed with great landlords who understand the realities of what’s going on, so it gave us the opportunity to make COVID-19-appropriate deals in all our locations.”
Saying that “our calling card is resilience,” Giddon said that the stores have rebounded from the most-dire times they faced as a result of the lockdowns, and he’s hopeful about the opportunities for this new location. “We put in a lot of time talking to our customers and that gave us the confidence to move ahead,” he said. “We feel there’s a need for a curated multibrand men’s store with a strong price-value relationship. The obituary for New York has been written before and it’s always wrong. It may be different, but it’s not dead. It’s young and vibrant.”
Although Rothmans had at one time been heavily skewed to tailored clothing, the mix has shifted significantly over the years, and the assortment at the new store will reflect that.
“Ten years ago, we were an 80-20 clothing-to-sportswear store,” he said. “Now we’re only 30 percent tailored. We’re good at denim and we added five different athleisure lines during COVID-19. So we’ll be going in with a little tailored, like unstructured sport coats from LBM and Jack Victor, denim, Faherty, Billy Reid, Peter Millar and some fun shoes.” And if customers respond to one category over another, the mix can be changed quickly. “The key is to be nimble,” he said.