BIGGER AND BETTER:

The Nordstrom Manhattan Flagship Plan Comes Into Focus

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While we all know that Nordstrom is building a huge flagship over at Broadway and West 57th Street, the details of what it will look like have remained a mystery —until now. Today's WWD confirms in detail much we have heard and speculated about concerning the first major flagship department store built in Manhattan since Barneys on Madison Avenue over 20 years ago. We also get some interesting new information, like the fact that the plans are so elaborate that the store is has now added a year to its projected opening date, so we will all have to hold out to 2019 to see it all come to life.
But there's more than that. “It can’t be just another nice regional store. It’s got to be better,” Nordstrom Inc.’s co-president Pete Nordstrom tells WWD. We know that the retailer is expanding its plan with more space across Broadway at 3 Columbus Circle, and now it has been confirmed that the space will, as has been widely speculated, be a freestanding men's store which, if it is ready in time, may actually open before the main flagship is finished. The other notable news is that Nordstrom will be taking space in every building along the block of Broadway between 57th and 58th Streets that are adjacent to the enormous new tower that will house the seven selling floors of the main store. That includes 1776 Broadway on the 57th Street corner, and 5 Columbus Circle on the corner of 58th. Their interiors will be integrated into that of the new building to increase space on the street level and floors above, while their exteriors will remain distinct from the new construction and, in the case of 5 Columbus Circle, dramatically restored to resemble its original Beaux Arts splendor (pictured in the gallery after the jump). That will give the store entrances through all of those buildings as well as one previously known to be integrated, 1780 Broadway. Now the flagship will have a continuous frontage that wraps all the way around the Broadway block from 58th to 57th Streets. 
But what will the new building look like?  presented a starkly modern exterior designed by architect James Carpenter featuring undulating glass panels that will allow maximum use of natural light inside the store as well as allowing clear views inside for passersby on the street outside (pictured in the rendering above).
The combined stores will give Nordstrom a total of 363,000 square feet of space, second in size only to the chain's main Seattle flagship store. The interior will feel familiar to seasoned Nordstrom shoppers with the retailer's signature floor plan featuring a central atrium with escalators. What it won't have is the vast expanses of space compared to stores like Bloomingdale's or Saks not to mention Macy's. Nordstrom compares the individual floors' size to those in Bergdorf Goodman, but they will feature the open plan you find in most of the chain's stores with a minimal use of hard, in-store boutiques.
This leads us to the question of exactly which designers Nordstrom will be carrying in its new showplace, a tricky question in Manhattan where luxury designers typically allow for somewhat wider distribution than they do in other cities, but still don't like to be seen in every single store. Nordstrom will have to convince many top designers who are already satisfied with their distribution between Bergdorf's, Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's and likely their own flagship boutiques that they should add another point of sale in Manhattan. This work has been ongoing since the store was announced. "One of the things that will help with vendors is that we’ve got this West Side orientation that is somewhat unique,” says Pete Nordstrom, putting actual space between the new store and the concentration of big department stores further east.  “We believe the West Side customer is underserved,” he explains. “We ended up picking this location for a reason — the combination of being able to build something really exciting and interesting and doing it in a neighborhood that’s underserved.” The added floor space will also help the retailer to come to agreements with top designers for representation in the store. Nordstrom already carries nearly every major luxury label in various locations throughout its network of stores. It is now more a matter of convincing them to add one more door in Manhattan where luxury department stores are proliferating downtown and Neiman Marcus, another key account for any top designer, is also entering the fray for the first time at around the same time. 
The new flagship will be the most expensive store the chain has ever built, and it is expected to be its most productive as well. To that end, Nordstrom is obviously taking its time to make sure that every aspect of the store will be the best that it can be. We will find out  in three years, now, how it all turns out, but few department store chains have a track record for expansion that is as successful as Nordstrom's has been over the past few decades. The results should be worth waiting for.

Nordstrom’s Manhattan Project: A Bigger Mousetrap (WWD)

See more renderings of the upcoming store after the jump

Continue reading "BIGGER AND BETTER:

The Nordstrom Manhattan Flagship Plan Comes Into Focus" »


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)


POP-UP ALERT:

Gwyneth Goes Live At Columbus Circle's GOOP MRKT

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For whatever reason, Gwyneth Paltrow has become one of those celebrities that "the internet" just loves to try to take down a peg or two. Is it just a result of being a successful flaxen-haired beauty who has an Oscar? Who knows, but when she started Goop, her email newsletter turned lifestyle enterprise, people really got their hackles up despite the venture's obvious success and warm reception among her actual fans. Paltrow has brought her business to another level today by opening Goop MRKT, a Holiday pop-up store at The Shops at Columbus Circle which will run through December 24th. This is her fourth Goop shop, but her first in Manhattan. We are sure that her band of critics will have their knives out, but, honestly, when The Shophound breezed by the shop earlier today, we couldn't find a great deal to criticize. The modestly sized shop neat the 58th Street entrance to the shopping center has been spruced up with a paint job, some judiciously applied moldings and a few eclectic chandeliers. While we will not exhaustively catalog the contents of the shop, we can say with confidence that if this is an expression of her personal style and favorite items, then the woman has some damned good taste.
There are three sections, with one each devoted to food, cosmetics and fragrances and fashion. The food section, which includes a cappuccino machine presumably installed to serve customers, features a combination of cookbooks, new items like Staub cast iron cookware and antique pieces like a particularly eye-catching set of green and white Bavarian chinaware in the window among other items. In the next section there are soaps, fragrances and other cosmetic items, but the main thrust of the store appears to be fashion and accessories, including an exclusive capsule collection of star-spangles separates inspired by Wonder Woman designed by Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri for Valentino. There are antique watches and jewelry items mixed in with brand new accessories, and the label roster includes labels like Nili Lotan, Carven and Stella McCartney to name a few. For a pop-up, it seems quite well merchandised, more like something that could sustain itself far longer than 31 days, perhaps indefinitely. Is it expensive? Sure, but so are about a thousand other stores in New York, so that's hardly much of a criticism. Really there was only one thing that we could find to criticize —that name, Goop MRKT
What? You're too good for vowels now, Gwyneth?

Goop MRKT through December 24th at 10 Columbus Circle at 58th Street, Upper West Side


OFF-PRICE ALERT:

The Bloomingdale's Outlet Will Open in 11 Days

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Upper West Siders have been anticipating the opening of New York City's first Bloomingdale's The Outlet Store, and the retailer's website confirms that the store will open its doors one week from this Saturday, November 21st. The Shophound peeked through that door a few days ago (pictured below) to discover that the store is currently in "finishing touches" mode sprucing up the former Urban Outfitters location which should quickly turn into "stocking the shelves" mode if all activity is on schedule. Passersby can now gauge progress through the diamond-shaped peepholes on the windows pictured above. Like its presumed competitor, Nordstrom Rack, the Bloomingdale's Outlet is expected to carry a smattering of merchandise culled from full-line store clearance, with a stronger focus on off-price goods from similar vendors to those one would find at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue. As the neighborhood has lost two major off-pricers, Lehmann's and SYMS/Filene's Basement, in recent years, it will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Though it's the first to open within New York City, the store will be the fifteenth Outlet store in the Bloomingdale's chain, and given the current dominant business model of full-priced department store chains bolstered with a generous fleet of outlets, it wouldn't be unrealistic to expect to see more of them sooner rather than later. So far, we haven't heard about any opening day promotions yet, but we will be keeping our ears out for them and posting accordingly. In the meantime, let the countdown begin.
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SCREW THE MILLENNIALS:

Boomer Fave J.Jill Takes Over Burberry's West Side Store

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It seemed like a good idea when it opened, but the Burberry Brit store on Columbus Avenue made a stealthy exit several weeks ago, perhaps to make way for something a bit more suitable for the neighborhood. Momwear mainstay J.Jill has swiftly taken over the 2,816 square foot store between 67th and 68th Street for its very first New York City store. Though the retailer has 250 stores throughout the U.S. and is well represented in the suburban malls that surround the city. Despite not having a store here, Manhattan is reportedly the brands top-volume market through its website and catalogues. Now under a new owner, look for J.Jill to increase its visibility in the city imminently. Apparently the West Side store is just the first of several new NYC stores for the label set to appear later this year. A spokesperson for the brand tells WWD, "We expect to expand our New York City footprint later this year."
Part of the chain's success may be due to its main customer base. While most retailers have been chasing the elusive and sometimes unpredictable Millennial customer, J.Jill has been doing very well by catering to the good old Baby Boomers with easy, casual clothing. With that in  ind, they should last a lot longer on the Upper West Side than their predecessor did.

J. Jill Sets First NYC Store (WWD)


UNDERGROUND SHOPPING:

The Columbus Circle Subway Station's Upcoming Retail Tenants Are More Chelsea Market Than MTA

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The Columbus Circle subway station has been under renovation for so long that we almost forgot that it was supposed to have shops lining the block-long underground walkway that spans Eighth Avenue from underneath the Hearst Building south of 57th Street to Time Warner Center at 58th. Today, however a list of the carefully curated tenants was released that reveals the elaborate plan to take advantage of the  90,000 people who pass through the 14,750 square foot space every day.
To be called Turnstyle, (see renderings above) the shopping complex will  include a mix of food and fashion retailers staring with a food court with seating on the southern side slated to include Ignazio’s PizzaGelato Ti AmoMeltKraft grilled cheese, Bosie Tea ParlorEllary’s Greens organic café and an unnamed cupcake shop meant to replace Magnolia Bakery which pulled out of a proposed store. Live music will also be added to the mix according to Susan Fine, the developer of the concourse who revealed the plans to the Observer. On the north end, another grab 'n go food section will bring  Dylan’s Candy Bar, Georgia’s Café and BakeryThe Nut BoxFika espresso bar,Just Falafel street food and By Suzette crepes. Connecting the food will be an "impulse buy" section expected to include Blossom Du Jour vegan fast-food, Spectre & Co. men’s accessories, Studio Manhattan handbags and accessories, Lush handmade bath products, Arth hats, Specs New York eyewear and Kit’s Underground Wine and Spirits. A lease is reportedly out for a Papyrus card shop as well.
Given the upscale improvements in the neighborhood such as The Shops at Columbus Circle and the highly anticipated Nordstrom flagship at 57th Street and Broadway with its vast luxury tower above, developers made a special effort to avoid the typical newsstand/candy store/shoe repair combination typically found in midtown subway stations. Of course, there is always the chance that no matter how affluent the commuters, sometimes all they really want or need is a newsstand, a candy shop and, most importantly, a shoe repair when they are coming and going from work. It is hoped that new stores will be opening by the end of the year, and then we will see if the Columbus Circle retail arrangement will become a template for other large subway stations throughout the city.

Slate of Hot Retailers Headed Below Ground at Columbus Circle (Commercial Observer)


OFF-PRICE SURPRISE:

Bloomingdale's First NYC Outlet Store Is Headed To 72nd & Broadway

72ndBwayHere's a late afternoon surprise that should delight West Siders who miss trolling for bargains at Filene's Basement.
Bloomingdale's is opening its first, much rumored off-price outlet store in New York City at the corner of Broadway and 72nd Street in the space that has housed Urban Outfitters for the past 15 years or so. The Observer reports that the popular East Side department store will take over the space in July when Urban Outfitters' lease runs out, and they predict an opening in time the Holiday Season which suggests that renovations will probably not be too extensive, though, we don't really know what the store is going to look like yet. 
With a 3-level DSW at 79th Street and the space once occupied by Loehmann's still empty, the Bloomingdale's move signals that the West 70s are still considered fertile ground for discounters of upscale goods despite the loss of significant players in the past few years. It also shows that luxury department stores are no longer wary of placing their outlet units near their exalted full-line flagships. Several years ago, a Bloomingdale's outlet would have been a likelier prospect for Woodbury Commons or Secaucus, but since Nordstrom Rack showed up in Union Square, and now that Saks Off 5th will be opening just a few blocks away from a glitzy upcoming new full-line Saks at Brookfield Place in the Financial District, the outlets are now, officially no longer a dirty little secret to be shielded from full-price customers.
What is to become of the longstanding Urban Outfitters remains to be seen. While there is a smaller unit further up Broadway near 99th Street, the popular chain will have no other West Side stores above 14th Street after July. Neither retailer has yet confirmed the moves, but if Urban Outfitters is looking to stay in the area, Loehmann's old digs in the Ansonia still appear to be available.

Bloomie’s Heading to UWS With New Discount Concept (Commercial Observer/NYO)


COMING SOON:

Robert Graham Expanding To Columbus Circle

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It's been about a year since Robert Graham arrived in Manhattan with a Bleecker Street boutique, ans, apparently it has been so successful that he is signing up for another. WWD tells us that the designer is bringing his multicolor pattern clashing sportswear to The Shops at Columbus Circle this spring. The 743 square foot shop will feature all of the label's shirting, and accessory lines as well as sportswear for men and women. Fragrance, loungewear and tailored clothing are expected to appear as they launch this coming fall.  No word yet on the exact location, but most of the mall is considered prime these days, especially as the date of Nordstrom's opening inches ever closer. Sure, it's still a deep pit at 57th and Broadway at the moment, but as soon as the department store and its massive tower are completed, the already desirable urban mall will become even more prized for retailers, so Graham is a few years ahead of the game. 

Robert Graham to Open Columbus Circle Store (WWD)
Previously:
Coming Soon: Robert Graham To Bring Bright, Fancy Shirts And More To Bleecker Street


BIG BOX RUMORS:

Is This The Entrance To A New Bed Bath & Beyond On Columbus Avenue?

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There have been rumors for months that the popular home chain Bed Bath & Beyond was getting ready to open a second Upper West Side store, and if they are true, it looks like the opening may not be far off. About a Year ago, stories began circulating that the residents of a high-rise apartment building at 100 West 93rd Street and Columbus Avenue were receiving coupons for a new branch of the chain set to open in the new cluster of stores being constructed at the base of their building. The store's representatives refused to confirm the news, and the actual building seemed at the time to be a long way from completion. Now, the plywood has come down, and the entrance to the kind of basement space that would comply with Columbus Avenue's new storefront zoning regulations appears to be nearly finished. The folks at Bed Bath & Beyond are still mum, but that's not unusual for chains these days who often want the element of surprise to help publicize new stores.
At any rate, something is ready to go in down there, and it looks like it may only be a matter of weeks before we find out for sure.


CAVALCADE of CONDIMENTS:

The Maille Mustard Boutique On Columbus Avenue Is Selling Out

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When we heard that the famous French Dijon mustard brand Maille had opened a mustard boutique on Columbus Avenue a couple of weeks ago, we though it was in interesting marketing idea for a pop-up, but wondered whether or not it was a sustainable long-term concept to devote prime real retail estate to selling a single condiment, especially one that is available in most supermarkets for around $4 a jar.
Well, It turns out that customers had no such misgivings. They saw the store, said, "Yum! Mustard!" and started buying.
We stopped in a few days after it opened and saw an elegant little shop with shelves filled with all sorts of flavored mustards in single jars and packaged into pricey gift sets along with an assortment of olive oils and vinegars —so really, more than just one condiment, the shop does offer all of the ingredients for a very expensive vinaigrette. With a tasting bar, all sorts of mustard accessories and refills on tap, the store is patterned more after a perfumery than any kind of food store. And customers are literally eating it up.
We stopped into the shop yesterday, and noticed a distinct sparseness on the shelves compared to just a week or so earlier. Many of the gift sets were completely sold out even at $40 to $60 for three or four half-sized 3.8 oz. jars, but where else are you going to find yummy flavors like bleu cheese, morel mushrooms or walnuts and white wine to name a few. Sound weird? They are not. They are indeed yummy and tempting, especially the black truffle mustard on tap, but, as one learns over time, sometimes what looks tasty on the gourmet counter gathers dust once it makes it into one's own kitchen. Or maybe it's just overkill for a turkey sandwich.
So, after visiting the mustard store, The Shophound walked a block across town to pick up some bananas at Trader Joe's and discovered a delightful new item, the "Mustard Miscellany" package of four 7 oz. jars of Dijon mustard —imported from France— featuring intriguing flavors like black currant, chablis, Provençal, and basil for a mere $6.99. No, there wasn't any bleu cheese or black truffle, and possibly our palate is not so refined as to be able to discern the difference between fancy French mustard and somewhat less fancy French mustard, but, you know, $6.99.
In a pinch, it'll do pretty damn well.

Maille New York 185 Columbus Avenue at 68th Street, Upper West Side