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

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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)


PLANNING AHEAD:

Nordstrom Already Expanding The New York Flagship It Hasn't Opened Yet

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You would think that 285,000 square feet over seven floors in a brand new, specially built skyscraper would be enough room for Nordstrom to launch it's long awaited Manhattan flagship, but the folks at the home office in Seattle are apparently feeling a little bit less confident about having enough space, now, so they have expanded —across the street.
WWD tells us that Nordstrom has taken a three level 43,000 square foot space at 3 Columbus Circle (pictured above) just across Broadway from the upcoming Nordstrom Tower for a second store. Rumors about the chain's interest in the space popped up about three months ago, but speculation was that it was to maximize the brand's presence with a flagship Nordstrom Rack store. If it seemed a bit unlikely that they would place an outlet unit so close to what is expected to be one of its crown jewel flagships, that's because it was. In fact the space will be an extension of the flagship as the home for certain departments relocated to make more room in the main store. While those departments have not yet been identified, speculation centers around shoes or menswear. While Nordstrom is known for its massive shoe departments, it is hard to imagine that it would move them across the street into a different building, making it difficult for sales staff to easily cross-sell footwear to complete apparel purchases. A men's department, however, can be and has been easily encapsulated in a separate, multi-level building as shown by Bergdorf Goodman's 25-year-old Men's store across Fifth Avenue from its original store and the freestanding men's store Saks Fifth Avenue is planning in the Financial District to complement the branch opening at Brookfield Place later this year. Nordstrom is also known for having one of the strongest men's businesses in the industry which could be maximized in New York City with its own storefront.
Or perhaps they haven't even decided yet. The additional space had included a Bank of America branch which the building's owner bought out to make the deal, and, since it is part of a building that is already built, unlike the very much under construction flagship store, Nordstrom has plenty of time to decide what to do with the space as well as create the store inside. Look for an announcement confirming the new space's use. . . eventually.

Nordstrom Lands Second Manhattan Location (WWD)


NO, NOT LEFTIES:

Italian Contemporary Label Pinko Coming To Madison Avenue

PinkoSS16Generally, we would suggest that Pinko, derogatory midcentury slang for lefty communist sympathizers, would not be the best name for a contemporary women's apparel line, but we have all gotten used to a fashion line called Acne by now, so we suppose that all bets are off in that respect.
Anyway, Pinko (pictured at right), an Italian based sportswear chain is making what appears to be its U.S. debut on the north-western corner of Madison Avenue and 80th Street in the former home of a Comptoir des Cotonniers unit. The line, whose prices appear to be comparable to Sandro or Maje, has an abundance of stores throughout Europe, the U.K., the Middle East and China, but has not yet ventured into North America. The Commercial Observer tells us that its debut store will be roughly 1,000 square feet, and that's all we got fro now. No opening date has yet been set, nor have plans for further expansion been released, but the upper reaches of Madison Avenue right on the pedestrian route to the Metropolitan Museum should be fertile ground to launch this sort of brand in the vicinity of Vince, J.Crew, Nanette Lepore and their ilk. Stay tuned for more details.

Italian Women’s Fashion Brand Pinko Making Foray Into USA (Commercial Observer)


OFF-PRICE ACTION:

One More Saks Off 5th Is Coming
—To Brooklyn

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That makes three.
2016 is looking to be a big year for the Saks Off 5th outlet chain as three locations are set to open in New York City where previously there have been exactly none. In fairness, it is only in recent years that luxury department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue have been comfortable placing their outlet division stores close enough to their full line stores to allow them to exist in New York City at all. With Off 5th stores scheduled to open in the Financial District and on East 57th street next year, the Commercial Observer is now confirming that parent company Hudson's Bay Co. has signed on for a third 30,000 square foot unit at the Liberty View Industrial Plaza in Brooklyn's Sunset Plaza neighborhood (lobby rendering pictured above). The store will be on the massive complex's ground floor with a prominent entrance, and is expected to open some time between Summer and Fall of 2016. Just above it will be the already announced Bed Bath & Beyond complex including flagship sized unites of each of its divisions including the namesake chain, Buy Buy Baby, Cost Plus World Market and Harmon Face Values.

Brooklyn Really Is Getting a Saks Off Fifth as Hudson’s Bay Signs Sunset Park Deal (Commercial Observer)


COLLABORATION REDUX:

Uniqlo And Lemaire's Sellout Sweaters Are Back For The Holidays

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The folks at Uniqlo promised that they would have replenishments of their popular Lemaire collaboration in stores for the Holiday season, and yesterday, they made good as some key knitwear pieces from the line appeared at the chain's Fifth Avenue flagship (as pictured above) and on Uniqlo.com. Sadly, even a fast fashion giant couldn't turn around a reorder of the entire collection on such short notice, but the fast selling sweaters were able to be produced in time. Five women's styles, the Cashmere Blended Cropped Sweater, the Cashmere Blended Square Sweater, the Flare V-Neck Sweater the Milano Rib Long Sleeved jacket and the Milano Rib Skirt, and two for men, the Merino Blended Mock Neck Sweater and the Knit Jacket are all available again in multiple colors for however long they last. While the collection was an unqualified success, there are a few items still hanging around in abundance from the initial delivery including Both men's and women's outerwear and the heavy wool and cashmere trousers for men which with no help from the unusually warm season, seemed to have missed their connections with eager customers. They are on sale, now for anyone holding out hope that freezing Winter temperatures are just around the corner, or maybe the next corner. That should be enough to hold Lemaire fans over for the next few months before a new season of the likely to be ongoing collaboration arrives in Uniqlo stores for the Spring.


COLLABORATION ANTICIPATION:

UNIQLO To Team Up With Liberty Of London This Spring

Liberty-UniqloRemember that Liberty of London collaboration with Target a few years ago? When the pop-up store they opened near Bryant Park had lines wrapped around the block and it sold out so fast that they had to close two days early?
Well, get ready to revisit that moment as the iconic British textile company is set to have another go at fast fashion when a new team-up arrives in Uniqlo stores worldwide this Spring. The collaboration as part of Uniqlo's LifeWear program is meant to combine classic British style with the chain's focus on technical innovation including collections for women, men and children. This will give Uniqlo a full lineup of designer collaborations with at least one more installment of the sellout Uniqlo and Lemaire line, ongoing programs with Inès de la Fressange and Michael Bastian and possibly some more from the well-received Carine Roitfeld collection. We don't yet have an official launch date for Liberty of London for Uniqlo, but you will know it has arrives when you see the stores festooned with floral prints and the purple loge pictured above.