TAKE A BOW:

Scoop NYC In The Financial District Will Be Gone After This Weekend

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Yes, we know the picture says Last 4 Days, but it was taken yesterday at the Scoop NYC in Brookfield Place which was looking more than a little depleted at the time. That leaves Today, Tomorrow and Sunday to say goodbye to a once beloved chain of contemporary boutiques the chain's most recently opened location. While nostalgia is in order, we have all had weeks to come to terms with Scoop's demise. The thing to do right now is what shopper do best, and that is to pick over its carcass like vultures looking for the best bargain. And it'll be tough, because there's not much left. Yesterday, the chain lowered final discounts to 50% to 70% off the lowest marked prices (which, as far as we could tell were only full prices), and a visit to the FiDi and Meatpacking locations showed some pretty picked over offerings, though, depending on your size, you might find a gem or two. Anyway, it's worth a stop by if you are in the neighborhood perhaps for a cheap t-shirt or maybe a couple of souvenir mannequins.

UPDATE:
It turns out that the Brookfield Place store is the only one closing this weekend. The last two stores on Washington Street in the Meatpacking District and on Third Avenue on the Upper East Side are still slated to remain open for another month through the second week in July. Presumably, consolidations from other already closed stores in the chain will be funneled to them, so it's worth checking back, and it looks like there will be time for at least another round of markdowns before the chain's final swan song.


COLLABORATION ANTICIPATION:

Christophe Lemaire Will Make A Second Home At Uniqlo

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Christophe Lemaire and his new design team for Uniqlo U/Courtesy Image

There's good news today for those of us Uniqlo fans who were disappointed that the recent Uniqlo and Lemaire collaboration did not become an ongoing collaboration for the Japanese based mega-chain. Designer Christophe Lemaire has joined Uniqlo on a permanent basis and will spearhead a new label called Uniqlo U (see the logo below) as the design director of a new Paris-based research and development center for the retailer. The new line will have a debut during Paris Couture week next month in advance of hitting all Uniqlo stores this fall. Lemaire (pictured above with his new team) will also continue with his own collection of luxury apparel, but his co-designer and romantic partner, Sara-Linh Tran who had joined him the previous collaboration with will not be joining him at Uniqlo, and will focus solely on the Lemaire label.

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The new Uniqlo U logo/Courtesy Image

When the Uniqlo and Lemaire collection collection sold out almost instantly at its launch last year, it was a good bet that collaboration would be a worthy replacement for the +J collection which was created by the designer Jil Sander for the chain to great success, but instead, we were told that it would end after the second installment, remnants of which are still available in Uniqlo stores. Rather than parting ways, it turned out that the designer and the chain had bigger things in mind. The new label will be more wide ranging than the limited collaboration line (hopefully with a fuller size range at the high end) and will have its own dedicated design staff. Comparing Uniqlo U to +J, Lemaire calls his new venture ". . . a little more democratic." He tells Business of Fashion, " The biggest issue was to design things that are essential enough to be timeless, and understood by everyone. Elevated basics, I call them. Our ambition is to fill the gap between what’s fashion and what’s ‘normal.’ I know the word ‘normcore’ is overused, but there’s something about normality I find very interesting — how do you make it super normal but refined and cool and desirable?"
While it turned out that +J was something for Sander to do between stints at the label that bore her own name, Uniqlo U is structured to exist as an integral part of the chain's assortment regardless of the status of Lemaire's increasingly popular eponymous collection. Instead of being doled out to select Uniqlo flagship stores, Uniqlo U is expected to be available in all of Uniqlo's stores —1,774 of them at last count. There will be between 500,000 and 1 million of each unit produced which will hopefully ensure that the best pieces won't sell out immediately as well as create some economy of scale that will help costs from spiraling too high. We will be keeping an eye out for the first collection's unveiling next month, but will also be relieved to know that when it hits stores in the fall, it is expected to stay there for a while.

Christophe Lemaire Joins Uniqlo (Business of Fashion)

 


RUMOR CONFIRMED:

Trader Joe's Is Officially Coming to 93rd & Columbus

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As was widely rumored a few months ago, hyper-popular grocery chain Trader Joe's has been confirmed by DNAinfo to be opening a new branch in 12,000 square feet on the ground floor and lower level of 670 Columbus Avenue on the corner of 93rd Street, a new retail space that has been waiting for quite some time to be filled. This will be TJ's second Upper West Side location after a branch at 72nd and Broadway that, like all the other locations in the city (and perhaps, the world?) is perpetually plagued with long lines of customers snaking throughout the store. Hopefully, this new branch will help to alleviate that overcrowding, but not importantly, it is only a few blocks from Shophound HQ which means that we will no longer have to go on the subway when it's time to replenish our stock of 19¢ bananas and frozen packages of ready-to-stir-fry vegetables. (insert delirious cheering here)
The new store is expected to be open early next year, and its main competition will be a Whole Foods at 97th and Columbus. If other neighborhoods in the city are feeling neglected, there's hope for them as the chain continues to look for suitable space in New York. Another location is reported to be opening in a former Food Emporium space in Kips Bay this Summer, and more rumors point toward a possible second East 14th Street store to be located between Avenues A and B.
So far, the Upper East Side has not been tapped, though it is likely to be high on the chain's list of neighborhoods for potential locations. For now we will just be counting down the days until our own neighborhood location opens its doors.

Another Trader Joe's Coming to the Upper West Side (DNAinfo)


EXPIRATION DATE:

The Second Week In July Will Be The Last For Scoop NYC

ScoopLiquidationToday's Thursday Styles has a look back at the rise and fall of the Scoop NYC boutique chain that is currently in the process of liquidating, and the most significant bit of information it reveals is that the chain will finally shutter its stores on the second week of July. That gives it about eight more weeks to get rid of its inventory which should mean escalating discounts through the sale period. It's not exactly the best time to be liquidating, since Scoop will be competing with the regular seasonal markdowns in all of the other stores that have the same merchandise, and it will have to go a bit deeper than the 20% off it has mostly been offering for the past couple of weeks in order to compete with regular old sales elsewhere.
Otherwise, the story told in the article by former insiders is much as we have heard. The once hot chain lost a bit of its mojo when co-founder Stefani Greenfield departed and the up and coming labels it helped to discover became less exclusive and opened their own boutiques —generally in competing locations— and became mainstays in the burgeoning contemporary departments of major retailers like Saks and Neiman Marcus. Instead of replacing those maturing labels with newer, hotter ones, the store chugged along as a comfortable if less essential stop the millennial shopping tour until skyrocketing rents and ill-advised leases did it in Now there are eight weeks left to how much Scoop can slash its prices enough to make us all come back to clear its racks and shelves.
Liquidations are an inherently bittersweet stage of a store closure, but we will try to keep shoppers updated on just how much of a discount is being offered.

The Last Days of Scoop By Marisa Meltzer (NYTimes)


CHAIN IN DANGER:

Scoop Closes In SoHo As New Troubles Emerge
UPDATED
All Scoop Stores Now Closing

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Scoop NYC, the fast growing retail chain that rode the contemporary designer explosion of the turn of the 21st Century to great success is facing some new challenges. WWD reports that the chain has closed its 10,000 square foot flagship in SoHo (pictured above) and is mulling the future of other branches —possibly that of the entire chain.
The retailer's ailment is not sales, apparently, but its rapid expansion during a time when prime locations have been scarce and renting only at top dollar rates. Margins at scoop are said to be in excess of 46% of sales and over $1,000 per square foot, enviable business levels by anyone's standards, but they are being eaten away by rents that are too high and stores that are too big, hence the closure of the chains largest and possibly most expensive one.
Started just 20 years ago by Stefanie Greenfield and Uzi Ben-Abraham, Scoop helped pioneer the upper contemporary/ designer boutique chain by mixing prestige designer labels like Missoni, Margiela and Derek Lam with resurgent premium denim brands and more casual contemporary fare, and presenting merchandise by lifestyle rather than by label. The billed the store as "The Ultimate Closet", and their concept won acclaim and lots of customers. Eventually, menswear was added in the same manner, and though the results in that category wound up looking fairly middle-of-the-road in terms of fashion, commercially it was a hit, offering side-by-side shopping for couples. Similarly merchandised chains like Intermix and Barneys Co-op also thrived alongside Scoop in its heyday, But Barneys has discontinued the Co-op division and converted its locations to more upscale, small Barneys boutiques, while the broader expansion of Intermix is now backed by Gap Inc. Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. acquired Scoop in 2007, and is said to have ruled out a bankruptcy filing, though liquidation may not be off the table. The chain still has 15 stores left, mostly in New York City and Long Island, but also in key cities including Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, Chicago, Las Vegas and Atlanta but only with single units. Its most recently opened store is in Brookfield Place in the financial district. It sounds like we should expect to see a few more Scoop store closures in the coming months, but hopefully, the chain isn't ready to give up the ghost just yet.

UPDATE:
Or maybe it is.
Over the weekend, Scoop stores started running 10% Off storewide store closing sales in all remaining 15 locations with merchandise expected to hold out for 8 to 12 weeks. The aforementioned overhead costs have reportedly clobbered the chain out of viability, with with unrealistic double digit comp numbers required to ensure profitability against high rents on oversized stores. In other words, there is no feasible path forward for the chain. In New York City, the remaining Scoop locations are on Third Avenue between 73rd and 74th Streets, Brookfield Place, and separate men's and women's stores on Washington Street between 13th and 14th Streets in the Meatpacking District as well as East Hampton and Wheatley Plaza stores on Long Island.

Scoop Succumbs to Market Forces; All Stores Closing (WWD)


COLLABORATION ANTICIPATION:

Uniqlo's Liberty Of London Line Arrived In Stores Today With Few Crowds But Plenty Of Good Merch

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If you were worried that Uniqlo's new collaboration collection with Liberty of London was going to create the kind of frenzy that the iconic Brtish textile brand whipped up when it teamed up with Target a few years ago, then you can rest easy. Things at the Japanese chain's Fifth Avenue flagship were reasonably calm at midday today when the Shophound stopped by to check out the collaboration in person. The shelves and racks seemed fully stocked with the brand's famous florals translated into fairly classic items that should ultimately sell easily, but nobody should be put off by the notion that there might be aggressive crowds flocking to the store. Apparently, Uniqlo is not yet at Target's level of promotional skill, but maybe one day it will be.
But back to the clothes on hand, though the collection is billed as being for men and women, the men's offerings consist of a single, classic style of linen shirt in five floral patterns of a suitably masculine shades of blue. The women's collection includes several printed tees, two styles of jersey dresses —one long and one short, loose drawstring shorts along and tote bags, slippers and other accessories all in various Liberty prints. It's also priced to move with nothing under $39.90, so if the intermittent balmy weather has made you ready for flowers that have yet to bloom on their own, a printed top may be a good temporary Spring fix.
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GROCERY RUMOR DU JOUR:

Is Trader Joe's Coming To 93rd & Columbus?

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There is little news that will circulate faster than a Trader Joe's rumor.
Today's tidbit first appeared in The Real Deal telling us that the intensely popular grocery chain is just about ready to take 20,ooo square feet of brand new, virgin retail space at 670 Columbus Avenue between 92nd and 93rd Streets (pictured above) for its fourth Manhattan store it would be the chain's second on the Upper West Side, but as anyone who has shopped at the location at Broadway and 72nd Street, there can never be too many Trader Joe's in New York. That particular store, like the other two Manhattan branches, is known to start generating endlessly long checkout lines shortly after midday which not only take up shoppers time with waiting, but also make it increasingly difficult to navigate the store as the day goes on. Another store 20 blocks or so north would not only alleviate pressure on that store, but also make up for the loss of two other markets in the area, the generally gross Food City that once lived in a freestanding building at 94th and Columbus and a Food Emporium that closed last year at 91st and Broadway. It would also compete with a Whole Foods at 97th and Columbus, and make The Shophound gleefully dance around our apartment because we would be located exactly in between both stores.
Of course, we will hold off on the dancing until the deal is signed and done, because we also remember that the same site was once rumored to be the home of a future Bed, Bath & Beyond which also caused us moments of anticipatory joy but never materialized. Instead a Party City eventually appeared and took over 12,000 square feet of space underground at the recently constructed addition to 100 West 93rd Street, eliciting somewhat less glee from The Shophound. As New Yorkers have learned in the past decade, you could probably have ten times the number of Trader Joe's in the city as there are right now and it still wouldn't be enough, but every new one counts, and pretty much everyone on the Upper West Side is waiting with bated breath to see if this one will really follow through on the rumors. Stay tuned.

Trader Joe’s close to finalizing deal for new UWS store (TheRealDeal)


COLLABORATION ANTICIPATION:

Target's Team-Up With Marimekko Hits Stores Next Month

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It's the time of year, when designer collaboration fiends start looking to the big red bullseye to find out what collection they will be clamoring to this spring. Today, that question has been answered as Target announced its upcoming 200-piece collection created with iconic Finnish design and textile house Marimekko. "We’ve had our eye on Marimekko for quite some time, and can’t wait for guests to have a chance to shop this limited-edition collection in just a few short weeks," says Target's senior vice president, product design and development, Julie Guggemos. Inspired by the nearly 24-hours of sunshine during the height of Finland's summer days, the collection includes beach and swimwear for women and girls, outdoor décor, furniture and entertaining items ranging in price from $7.99 for sunscreen to a $499.99 paddle board. Most pieces are promised to be under $50, however. Look for the frenzy to begin in only about six weeks when the collection hits stores and Target.com on April 17th.

Target Announces New Design Partnership with Marimekko: It’s Finnish, Target Style (Target Corporate)
See some more images from the collection after the jump

Continue reading "COLLABORATION ANTICIPATION:

Target's Team-Up With Marimekko Hits Stores Next Month" »


COLLABORATION ANTICIPATION:

Have A Look At The First Images For Uniqlo x Liberty Of London

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We can barely keep track of Uniqlo's plethora of designer collaborations this season —and that's not a complaint. As we anticipate the launch of the next and final (sob) Uniqlo and Lemaire capsule in a couple of weeks, we can look forward to the release of the chain's team-up with Liberty of London which is now expected just a couple more weeks after that. The fast folks at Vogue UK released three images online this morning from the ad campaign that we feel confident will be festooning buses and subway cars throughout the city in a matter of weeks. Shot by superstar Nick Knight and styled by Charlotte Stockdale, the three images present the kind of medley of Liberty's renowned floral prints that we would hope to see from the famous brand. So far we only have images of the women's collection, but the collaboration will include merchandise for men and children as well. "We have selected highly popular, vibrant floral patterns from among the Liberty prints, adored throughout the world by people across generations and cultures, and brought them together with Uniqlo's cutting-edge sensibilities to be reborn as LifeWear," says Yukihiro Katsuta, Uniqlo's head of research and design. The collaboration comes as the British brand celebrates its 40th anniversary, and the images apparently only touch on the offerings to come from the collaboration. We hear that floral down puffer jackets are on the way. If you can recall the mania that ensued when Target's Pop-up for its Liberty collaboration got cleaned out in record time a few years ago, then you will know to get up early to hit either the web or a Uniqlo store on the morning of March 18th. Set your alarms now.

EXCLUSIVE: Uniqlo X Liberty First Look (Vogue UK)

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COMING SOON:

Saks Off 5th Opens In Midtown Next Month With A Gilt Boutique Inside

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While some shoppers are counting down the last few days before Chelsea's new Barneys opens, others are keeping their eyes on Midtown where an opening date has been set for New York City's first Saks Off 5th location. Eyebrows were raised when it was announced only a few months ago that the luxury department store's outlet chain would open right in the middle of full-price territory on East 57th Street, a mere seven blocks uptown from the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship at 50th and Fifth. Now we have learned that not only will the store will open on Thursday March 3rd, but it will contain the first of what is expected to be several in-store Gilt boutiques in Off 5th locations (rendering pictured above). WWD reports that the 1,000-square-foot boutique will be situated at the landing of the first escalator in the two-level, 47,333-square-foot underground store. The shop will include "Gilt by Appointment" services and will mirror the sites online events. New merchandise that is released online at 12 noon will also be unveiled at the store just in time for lunch-hour shopping. Off 5th will also accept returns of online purchases in the store but is not yet ready to facilitate in-store pick-up of online purchases.
The new shop is one of the results of Saks parent company The Hudson's Bay Company's recent purchase of Gilt. While Off 5th and the online retailer will begin to be marketed in tandem, they will continue to maintain separate buying and merchandising personnel to differentiate the more luxury minded site from the broader assortments at Off 5th. We will be able to see how well the new siblings play with each other in just over 3 weeks when the new store opens at 125 East 57th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues. It's worth noting that in our rather extensive experience, off-price stores like this one tend to be packed with exceptionally good bargains at the grand opening, so first-day shopping is always recommended.

Gilt to Go Brick-and-Mortar on 57th Street (WWD)