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)


UNEXPECTED EXIT:

Carson Street Calls It Quits

CarsonStreetClothiersCrosbySt2013Much admired men's store Carson Street announced that it would close its doors at the end of June after just over three years in business.
Originally opened on Crosby Street as Carson Street Clothiers (pictured at right), the store recently made a major move to a larger but somewhat more out-of-the-way space last Fall coinciding with a new abbreviated name and distinct change in direction from a modern, updated classic point of view to a more progressive style. Perhaps it was too much change too fast. Trouble seemed to be brewing earlier this week when cofounder Brian Trunzo announced his exit from the company to pursue his own projects. The store's 2013 debut was highly anticipated by industry watchers as an audacious project from menswear fans but retailing outsiders Trunzo and Matt Breen. The shop's construction was chronicled on Esquire.com, and was greeted with praise when its doors finally opened featuring a well edited assortment of the most favored menswear designers of the moment displayed in a welcoming setting featuring a cozy lounge and friendly salespeople. The location was smartly chosen as Crosby Street became home to more and more complementary stores like Saturdays NYC and Miansai. The arrival of Seattle's Totokaelo last fall seemed to solidify the street as a prime destination for shopping, but Carson Street was already planning to relocate to a block of Greene Street that was further off the beaten path of shoppers.
A new, separate wholesale collection called Deveaux was launched earlier this year at New York Fashion Week Men's for this fall, which may have been one complication too many too many for the still growing company. That business will continue even as the store closes, and is expected to be found at Totokaelo, United Arrows and Spruce according to WWD.
The Shophound will miss browsing through Carson Street's racks, and its always sad to see a promising shop depart before its time, but the predictable silver lining remains what will have to be an excellent G.O.B. sale over the next couple of months.

Carson Street to Close Store (WWD)


KATHERINE BERNARD GOES SHOPPING:

Insta-Dressing In SoHo Edition

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Photo by Emily Andrews for The New York Times

A new Critical Shopper has arrived at the Thursday Styles today. We don't know if Katherine Bernard will take over Molly Young's women's shopping duties permanently, but she does give us a respectable survey of the new Balmain boutique that quietly opened its doors earlier this month in SoHo. Don't worry if you are concerned that glittering label's thirst for publicity is starting to wane. The official opening party is scheduled as this year's Met Ball after-party on Monday night. Now you can picture the requisite Kardashian/West/Jenner extravaganza, and our shopper reminds us that it is almost impossible to make mention of the Balmain brand without also using the words Kardashian and Instagram. She also notes pointedly that Instagram followers do not necessarily translate into throngs of eager customers. Despite Balmain's social media following of multiple millions, the store is a quiet and serene environment in neutral shades of beige and black when she visits mostly because clicking 'like' and 'follow' are free, but owning single piece of Balmain apparel beyond a $365 t-shirt requires four figure investment at minimum. And what of those clothes? They are tight.

These clothes are honest. They hold you. My designer friend tells me that the fabric embrace comes from technically advanced four-way stretch. There’s pull and lift. There’s no darting or corseting, it’s just extremely special fabric.

Ultimately, the experience seems like a taste of fantasy, complete with a salesperson impersonating a paparazzo. For better or worse, Balmain and its once reserved designer Olivier Roustieng has thrown their lot in with social media stars and red carpet glitz. The rabid rush for last Fall's H&M collaboration collection proved that, so if runway walking  in glittery opulence is your aspiration (and within your means), your boutique has arrived.

Critical Shopper: The Balmain Army Steps Out By Katherine Bernard (NYTimes)
Balmain 100 Wooster Street between Spring & Prince Streets, SoHo


POP-UP ALERT:

Kanye West Is Having A Pop-Up Shop In SoHo Today Through Sunday

Here at The Shophound, we admit we have not been at the forefront of breathlessly covering the fashion comings and goings of celebrity vortex Kanye West, but it might be remiss of us not to pass along the intriguing information that he is holding a pop-up shop in SoHo starting today at 4 PM through Sunday on Wooster Street.
From the above tweet, it would seem that the shop is centered around his current, constantly changing album, The Life Of Pablo. It isn't the first time he has had album-related pop-up shops, but this particular release doesn't seem to be following any conventional formula. There's also the vague possibility that this is where he will release his Yeezy Season 2 collection, or at least some of it, since, as far as we can tell, it has not appeared at all in any retail stores despite his already having extravagantly shown a Season 3 line during New York Fashion Week last month. Or perhaps Season 2 will never come out since Adidas refused to produce the apparel items because they were too expensive. Who knows?
If you are a Kanye fan, then you will want to hightail it down to SoHo as soon as possible.
If you hate mob scenes, then you will know to steer clear of Wooster Street between Broome and Spring Streets this afternoon.


PUFFER PREMIUM:

Canada Goose Will Debut In New York On Wooster Street

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It hasn't been a particularly cold winter overall, but that isn't enough to discourage Canada Goose, the puffer jacket pros from the Great White North, from establishing a beachhead in SoHo in the space that another rugged outfitter, Patagonia, once called home. The 4,000 square foot space at 101 Wooster Street has been occupied intermittently by pop-ups and sample sales since its previous tenant moved to Greene Street, but the Canadian brand known for its pricey high-fill parkas should be secure there as it has become an increasingly popular label for both its technical qualities and it's ever more coveted street style appeal over the past few years. So far as we can tell, this will be Canada Goose's first freestanding U.S. retail store. Exactly what it will do during the sweltering New York City summers remains to be seen, but perhaps they will simply be one of those stores that does its business when is cold and lets its staff take vacation time during the off-season. No opening date has been disclosed, but sometime before this year's Holiday Season is a safe bet, if not earlier.

Apparel brand sets down between Spring & Prince (NYPost)


FOOTWEAR UPGRADE:

Melissa Shoes To Move To Former Tommy Hilfiger Space In SoHo

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Fans of shiny, plastic shoes will be pleased to hear that Melissa Shoes is reportedly moving its flagship store from a modest storefront on Greene Street to  Tommy Hilfiger's former store at 500 Broadway (pictured above) right next door to Bloomingdale's. The Brazilian brand known for its leather-free footwear and collaborations with designers like Karl Lagerfeld, Vivienne Westwood and Jason Wu, to name a few, will enjoy a big step up both in profile and square feet nearly doubling the store's selling space and increasing visibility immeasurably. As for the store that the brand is leaving at 102 Greene Street (pictured below), it is rumored to be Fendi's next home at SoHo, suggesting that the odd, windowless space right next door that Fendi recently moved into is in fact just a temporary space for the main luxury brand as it waits to move into a more appropriately proportioned store.

Melissa Shoes to make big footprint in Soho with new Broadway store (TheRealDeal)
Previously:
Fendi's New SoHo Store Is Open As Louis Vuitton Takes Over Its Old Space

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MUSICAL STOREFRONTS:

Fendi's New SoHo Store Is Open As Louis Vuitton Takes Over Its Old Space

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Call it just one of the effects of corporately owned fashion. Several weeks ago, we noticed that Fendi had vacated its high-profile spot at the corner of Greene and Spring Streets for a strangely innocuous location down the block with very little street visibility, and now we can see that the space at 122 Greene has been given over to the ever sprawling Louis Vuitton boutique that had been its next-door neighbor (pictured above). It's not Vuitton's first expansion of its SoHo store, and now it controls a substantial portion of the block between Spring and Prince Streets. It's not terribly surprising to see Vuitton move into Fendi's space, as they are sibling brands under the vast LVMH luxury umbrella. Vuitton, along with Dior which also has a boutique on the same block, is one of the group's crown jewels, a cash cow that has few peers in the fashion world. It would appear, at least in their case, that one of the hazards of being a part of such a luxury group is that when Big LV needs more room lesser brands, even ones as celebrated as Fendi, will get out of the way and relinquish their highly desirable corner stores.
For its part, Fendi's new store at no. 104 (pictured below) may be a bit larger than its previous space, but even the brand's outsized chrome robot bear mascot at the doorway may not be enough to alert passers by that the new boutique is now open. Hushed, well-appointed and well stocked with the brand's Bag Bugs festooned accessories though it may be, the new store is strangely tunnel-like and windowless which is particularly unfortunate in a neighborhood so prized in part for its airy loft-like stores. Hopefully, SoHo's tourists and other deep pocketed shoppers will find Fendi's new downtown home, but we have to wonder if the brand's retail executives are really that pleased with the relocation.
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MOLLY YOUNG GOES SHOPPING:

Beyond Ballet Flats Edition

21CRITICAL4-articleLargeIn today's Thursday Styles, this week's Critical Shopper Molly Young makes her way to Soho to check out the Repetto flagship or Mecca for generations of ballet flat fans. it is not, however, the eternal ballet flat that interests out shopper this week. She gives it its proper historical context (Brigitte Bardot, Kate Moss, Amy Winehouse etc.), and there are clearly lots of them to be had there for both professional dancers and civilians alike, but it is the other items at Repetto that really catch our shopper's eye. The well priced sportswear gets its due, although it seems a little bit too well-priced to have actually been made in France, but the item that sticks is a fawn-colored ankle boot. "It felt like having someone gently blow kisses toward my foot from a distance," she describes, which seems tough to resist, even for $425. And yet, the delicacy that makes it such a treat for her feet is also its chief drawback, How could such a dainty piece of footwear stand up to the rough sidewalks of New York? Of her trusty shopping partner she finally says, ". . .I’m grateful for friends who remind me of the important things in life — like keeping the maximum amount of shoe between me and New York City’s fathomless secretions," —perhaps finally remembering the heartbreak of having a new pair of shoes destroyed by the very streets of the city we call home. We have all been there.

Critical Shopper: Be a French Girl. Or Just Look Like One. By Molly Young (NYTimes)
Repetto 400 West Broadway between Spring & Prince Streets, SoHo

 


MORE MUSICAL STOREFRONTS:

Fendi Is Moving Its SoHo Store Down The Block

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has quietly closed its SoHo store on the corner of Prince and Greene Streets, but it is not abandoning the neighborhood. According to the covered up windows, next month, a new store will open only halfway down the block at 104 Greene Street (pictured above), formerly an H.Stern jewelry store.
There was an H.Stern in SoHo?
FendiWindowSoHoYes, there was, but one could be forgiven for not noticing. Wedged between the Melissa shoe store and Design Within Reach, it is one of the few retail spaces in the neighborhood that has brick walls where windows should be. Inside is a long and narrow selling space, which could be made into a compelling store, but overall, it is a dismayingly inconspicuous space for a prized, LVMH controlled luxury brand —particularly compared to the infinitely more visible previous corner location at 122 Greene.
Maybe Fendi has yet to prove through sales numbers that it deserves a larger presence in the neighborhood. Vast corporate management can be tough on its brands at times. The previous store while exceedingly well-positioned, was particularly petite, serving as a focused showcase for handbags and accessories only. It was far from an extensive representation of Fendi's offerings, and the upcoming location may offer more space with its stretched out configuration, but the store's innocuous frontage makes us wonder if it may just be something of a placeholder until Fendi finds a more visible SoHo location that is more befitting of a celebrated brand and puts it on a more level footing with other boutiques of its ilk including Chanel, Dior, Burberry, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent and the like. In the meantime, we can check back in February to see how Fendi contends with its unusual new home.


TECH TERMINATION:

Google's SoHo Store Is Canceled

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Last year Google landed a lease at 131 Greene Street in SoHo (pictured above) for what was expected to be one of its first freestanding retail stores, not far from rival Apple's first New York store at the corner of Prince and Greene Streets. We would have expected the store to be opening right about now, but after an extensive renovation of the space that reportedly cost $6 million, it looks like Google has hit the delete key on its ambitious retail plan. The 5,442 square-foot space which would have been hawking Android phones and tablets, Chromebooks and any number of other products running Google software is now being marketed for subleasing, so anti-Apple tech enthusiasts will have to entertain themselves with Fifth Avenue's new Microsoft store for the time being.
According to a dedicated website for the space, the store has been dramatically remade and modernized, with historical cast-iron and exposed brick elements preserved and opened up with skylights. It is now a premium space for whatever retailer can swallow the $2.25 million annual rent —about $450 per square foot which is pretty much what one would expect for the block. Let the luxury groups have at it.

Google abandons plan to open first-ever retail store in New York City, but not before spending $6 million to renovate this SoHo space (Crain's)