Guess, CK Calvin Klein, Esprit and Levi Strauss & Co. are all included in a project to install improved vendor shops, each with different opening dates, but all in time for the crucial back-to-school season.
With all four firms, the in-shop improvement plans will go beyond the Macy’s Herald Square store. Plans are to roll out the new prototypes in other stores, mostly within the Federated chain.
Esprit executive vice president Hank Sinkel called Federated the “most supportive” so far of his firm’s “very aggressive shop-installation program.”
For the back-to-school season, Esprit will open 40 newly designed, bigger shops in key Federated locations around the country, Sinkel said.
Besides Macy’s East, Esprit is installing them in Macy’s West, Burdine’s, Rich’s-Lazarus and The Bon Marche, Sinkel said.
“What’s happened is that, finally, the retailers have realized brands are very important to this customer,” he said of the 15-to-25-year-old women Esprit is targeting. “Surveys say this woman spends a large amount of her income on clothing. There haven’t been core resources to go after this customer.”
Specifically, Sinkel calls this customer the “younger better customer” as opposed to “bubble gum junior,” a term that generally indicates younger and less expensive junior styles.
At Macy’s Herald Square, the Esprit shop will greet customers as they step off the escalators. Sinkel is excited about the location because of the “enormous amount of traffic” from the escalators. Before, Esprit’s shop was where the new Guess shop is now: to the right of the elevators.
The Esprit shop, scheduled to open the third week in July, will be about 3,000 square feet, with 2,400 square feet of selling space and the rest general fitting rooms and a stock room. The previous shop was roughly 2,500 square feet, according to Sara Burch, visual display manager for Esprit.
All new fixtures will be used, and two large-screen TVs will show videos of “great images of Esprit — past, present and future,” Sinkel said.
He said there was “some support” financially for this building project from Esprit and noted that the company would also financially support staffing. Currently, Esprit pays a full-time merchandise coordinator who works on visual presentation and filling in stock in the department.
Sinkel noted that similar shops the firm has built have yielded “double-digit increases” in sales.
A new Esprit shop opened in May at Burdine’s in Dadeland Mall in Miami. Esprit has also installed five shops in select Dillard’s stores.
A new 1,200-square-foot Esprit shop will be installed in Macy’s West in San Francisco in November. Its current shop is 750 square feet.
Sinkel said the spaces in some of the doors will do more than $1 million annually, while others will do that amount of business in a single season.
At Guess, cosmetic touches are still being made in its new shop, which opened in the second week of June. The new Guess shop at Macy’s was formerly 4,000 square feet and is now 3,900 square feet, said David Bradshaw, director of shop development at Guess. Despite the slightly smaller space, the fixturing has more capacity.
Wall cabinets will be used rather than shelves, and nesting tables will have risers, which they did not have before. Many fixtures will now allow for double hanging.
“It increases our capacity from 2.5 units per square foot to almost 4 units per square foot,” said Ken Duane, president of worldwide sales for Guess.
Duane said the shop has kicked off with healthy sales — “high double digits against last year,” both at Macy’s Herald Square and at Burdine’s in Miami’s Dadeland Mall, where the firm opened a shop June 12 on the junior floor — the only two shops of its kind.
By the end of the year, the firm is scheduled to roll out 250 new or expanded shops for its women’s and men’s divisions within the Federated chain, Dayton Hudson and Dillard’s.
In addition to the “more stock on less space” features, Duane said the new shop will showcase new garment packaging, new logos and new images.
“The new shop is consistent with the new Guess image — sexy, young adventurous,” Duane said.
Levi’s already has a vendor shop in Macy’s, but is giving it an attitude adjustment.
“The changes being made there are not about elevating sales, but about elevating the image,” said Amy Rosenthal, senior marketing specialist for Levi’s. “The objective behind it is to enhance the retail presentation of the brand by simplifying and improving the shopping experience for consumers. Another objective is it’s a way for our key retailer accounts to stand out from the competition.”
Rosenthal said this new shop isn’t a concept that is being rolled out, per use, but is a “hand-picked situation given to premier retail accounts for the brand, as a perk to set them apart from other retailers.”
The 2,800-square-foot space is slated to be finished by early August.
When a customer walks into the shop, Rosenthal said, she’s going to feel “spoken to from a woman’s point of view.”
The space is being built to appeal to women, by using larger dressing rooms with softer lighting and a more comfortable focus area with seating.
The entire shop will also be “color-stripped by fit,” meaning that from the back wall all the way through the shop to the front aisle, color-coded floor fixtures will navigate consumers.
For example, one color strip will mark “slim fits,” another will mark the SilverTab line, another will point out “relaxed fits.”
The shops will be “mega-merchandised,” Rosenthal said, meaning they will offer a full breadth of product from juniors to regular sizes, “so they speak to every woman.”
Levi’s chose Macy’s for its first prototype because the store is a “key retail account” for the company, according to Rosenthal.
At CK Calvin Klein, a spokeswoman said the CK Calvin Klein Jeans juniors concept shop on the fourth floor of Macy’s is going to increase from 2,570 feet to 3,200 square feet with the new shop. Construction on the shop will be completed by July 25.
The new shop will feature a CK Calvin Klein Khakis lifestyle concept shop within the space.
“The Macy’s junior CK Calvin Klein Jeans shop is the first of the nationwide roll out to 250 doors for 1998, which will bring the total CK Calvin Klein Jeans concept shops to 450 doors,” said the spokeswoman.
Discussing the vendor shop concept, Doreen Denton, divisional merchandise manager for juniors at Macy’s East, noted the power of brands.
She said that the ability of department stores to offer certain brands is clearly their “edge” over such competitors as the aggressive specialty junior chains.
Overall, she noted that the Macy’s junior floor at the flagship will slowly undergo some environmental changes. Denton said they are trying to lighten up the junior space at Herald Square to make it “less industrial in atmosphere, and make it more contemporary and hip.”