Ferragamo’s reopening in Milan earlier this month.
Designer Labels Give Flagships a Face Lift as Growth From New Stores Slows
European luxury houses such as Ferragamo, Louis Vuitton and Moncler are refurbishing and expanding their old retail spaces to create a sense of novelty and give shoppers a new reason to pass through the doors. The refurbishment push is part of a painful maturing of the luxury-goods industry. Executives worry that their store signs have become so ubiquitous that consumers have lost the thrill of shopping in them. Analysts debate how much the sector can grow without the shot in the arm of new boutiques Ferragamo, whose brand includes shoes, handbags and scarves, will redo as many as 100 of its 600 stores between last year and 2015.
Fewer Buttons? Retailers Skimping to Boost Profits
Looking across the retail industry, at a wide variety of stores, Vincent Quan, associate professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, does not seem surprised some consumers perceive lower quality in today’s clothes. Quan, who spent more than 20 years in the retail industry, finds there’s an unquestionable decrease in the fabric quality at many of the best-known chain stores.Instead of relying on consumers to spend more money, it appears far more retailers are squeezing whatever costs they can on the production side, Quan said. He added, he’s seeing shirts with lower thread counts, less expensive synthetic fibers and no extra buttons.By sacrificing the fabric, retailers can keep the price points stable and continue to offer up the deep discounts consumers have become accustomed to, according to Quan. Plus, the companies can soften the blow of rising labor costs—particularly in China. There is a very slim chance of these retailers reverting to produce higher quality clothing—even if they cost more.
Hermès Opens Silk Bar Pop-up in New York
Hermès is venturing to the west side of Manhattan today, opening a pop-up shop at the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle with an omnichannel tie-in. Coinciding with the launch of the brand’s first app, Silk Knots, the Silk Bar pop-up, will be open through Oct. 31 and will carry scarves — including the Maxi Twilly line introduced last week, which retails for $290; ties, and enamel accessories. This is Hermès’ first Silk Bar in the U.S. The concept had a month-long run in Taipei, Taiwan, this April.
Saks Launches Off 5th E-commerce Site
Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th on Monday unveiled saksoff5th.com. Now that it’s here, the Web site is expected in its first year to be the biggest door of Off 5th’s 70-unit brick-and-mortar fleet.“It will be a very important business,” said Robert Wallstrom, president of Off 5th. “This is a significant milestone for Saks Off 5th. We want it to be the Saks of the off-price world, a true extension of the brand. The store will offer men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, footwear, handbags, accessories, jewelry, watches and beauty.Online shoppers have access to designer brands that may have limited distribution and be available only in select stores nationwide.
– Mehar Singh
Photo and Sources: WSJ, CNBC, WWDSee the Top Ten Summer 2016 Trends for Women Over 40