Todd Snyder On The Hunt For A New York Store Under New Owner American Eagle

Aeo-todd-snyderEarlier this year, designer Todd Snyder (pictured at right) closed his City Gym extended pop-up store in NoLita with a nice big sale and a hint that a new, permanent boutique was in the works, but no news on that front has appeared until today when it was announced that the designer had sold his company to American Eagle Outfitters.
This was a little bit of a surprise.
While both companies share a classic American-based aesthetic, American Eagle is a mall mainstay, while Snyder's own line, a Shophound favorite, has more luxury designer-level positioning. Even his collaboration with sweatshirt-maker Champion has an exclusive, limited distribution. Would the designer collection get downgraded into more of a moderate priced brand?
It turns out that American Eagle was less interested in Snyder's luxe line than they were in the Tailgate Clothing Co. t-shirt brand that Snyder had started with his family in the early 1990s. While The Shophound and most other consumers had no idea that there was any connection between Snyder and the vintage-inspired t-shirt company, it turns out that it has been helping to fund his designer collection which he started in 2011, and has a strong following among the collegiate customers that AE values so highly. Tailgate will be expanded with its own stores, and Snyder himself will become an executive vice-president of American Eagle while continuing to run his own label independently from the larger chain. Its more exclusive designer status will be maintained with more funding to allow it to expand as well, including a search for a freestanding Todd Snyder boutique in New York as confirmed by American Eagle global brand president, Chad Kessler in WWD today. Now, we just have to sit back and with for him to find a space, which is easy, right?

American Eagle Acquires Todd Snyder in $11 Million Deal (WWD)


Bluemercury Bought By Macy's

In the general scheme of things, it's a smallish deal that could mean big things in the cosmetics industry. Yesterday afternoon Macy's announced that it had purchased exclusive beauty boutique chain Bluemercury for $210 million. The Washington DC-based beauty retailer consists of 60 stores across 18 states including six in New York City with a seventh on the way in Chelsea. The chain's current founders and CEO's will remain in place as the chain is to be run as a separate, standalone entity from the Macy's and Bloomingdale's chains, but the immense corporate backing of its new parent will now fuel the company's rapid expansion.

Industry watchers have compared the up and coming Bluemercury to the still growing beauty behemoth Sephora, whose growth spurt happened after it was acquired by luxury giant LVMH. That's not a totally accurate comparison. Though there is some crossover, Sephora stores, as they are today, tend to center around upscale but widely distributed cosmetics brands and extensive fragrance offerings, while Bluemercury's feature high end treatment lines and more exclusive makeup lines, often with spas attached. A better comparison might be England's Space NK, whose U.S. stores are mostly leased shops within Bloomingdale's locations along with just a handful of freestanding units. In its current state, Bluemercury is not the Sephora-killer that many journalists are breathlessly heralding, but it may just be a threat to Space NK, whose U.S. business is heavily dependent on leasing space within a chain that has just become a sibling to its main competitor. How that will shake out remains to be seen over the next few years. Macy's doesn't really do small, so whether Bluemercury will be transformed into a major threat to Sephora or build up its own somewhat different, more luxurious niche is the question of the moment.

Macy's snaps up beauty brand Bluemercury (Crain's)


American Apparel Buys OAK Boutiques

OAKnycDressSaks isn't the only New York store that got a new owner this week. In a surprise move, sportswear chain American Apparel has purchased the New York boutique mini-chain OAK including both of its stores, its online e-commerce site and its wholesale business. This is the first time that chain has acquired another retailer, which it plans to continue operating separately from the main chain under its founders Louis Terline and Jeff Madalena. “This is their division. They are being empowered to grow their business,” AA Chairman and CEO Dov Charney tells WWD. The pair will also offer creative input for the American Apparel chain. Oak currently operates two stores, one in on Bond Street in NoHo and another on Nassau Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Compared to its new owner's affordable basic sportswear, it operates in an entirely different category offering much more exclusive, directional and expensive merchandise in the contemporary price range. The new deal will allow Oak to expand both overseas and in the U.S. with potential possibilities including Seoul, South Korea where AA has available space, and Los Angeles where its new parent company is headquartered and the brand's spare, modern fashion sensibility would have natural appeal. In addition, the stores will be able to take advantage of more sophisticated back office and e-commerce systems as well as in-house manufacturing capabilities for its wholesale collection, so faithful customers here in New York can expect to see a stronger and possibly bigger Oak in the coming months.

American Apparel Purchases N.Y. Specialty Retailer Oak (WWD)
OAK (Official Site)