SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

Last Minute Sale Surprises With Hugo Boss, Helmut Lang, Marc Jacobs & More

The Sample Sale schedule may have lightened up a bit for the last week before Christmas, but it is not on a Winter break just yet. Some heavy hitters will be making extra appearances to make the most of last minute Holiday shopping.

Last week's surprise LUCIANO BARBERA sale is scheduled to continue through Thursday with some very deep discounts on luxurious Italian menswear. Our visit last week found mostly warm weather offerings and a literal heap of sumptuous neckties for $25 each. We don't know how much is left at this point, but if you have always thought that Barbera was hopelessly unaffordable, there might be a Holiday surprise for you at Rockefeller Center if you act fast.
If it looked like MARC JACOBS was skipping the sale schedule this season, you might be relieved to see that he just pushed his sale back a few weeks from when we all used to expect it. Starting on Tuesday the 18th, he'll take over 260SampleSale's Greene Street location with all of his collections. Men's collections as well as the Marc by Marc Jacobs labels are promised even though they have been out of production for a few seasons by now. The main label should offer fresher merchandise. As usual, the sale will run through Sunday.
Walk one block west to find HELMUT LANG's seasonal blowout. While the label seems to be without much of a creative direction lately, it seems to have retreated into denim basics and signature looks closely linked to its namesake designer which also happen to be worthy additions to anyone's wardrobe.
Uptown at 260 Fifth Avenue, beauty buffs will be lining up for a cosmetics extravaganza featuring TOCCA fragrances, ARTÍS brushes, STILA makeup and DR.JART+ treatment products.
If you can wait until Wednesday, there is one more menswear for anyone looking for a wardrobe refresh. HUGO BOSS will be holding a special Holiday Sale at Soiffer Haskin through Sunday. If the usual pattern holds, you will find savings of up to 70% off with possible further reductions toward the end of the sale.

That should be enough shopping for anyone as we head towards the end of the year. We will be keeping an eye out, though for the inevitable sample sales that present themselves for those who don't feel like braving the post-Christmas madness elsewhere. Keep an eye on our SALE ROLL sidebar at left for times and locations as well as late breaking events.


SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

Italian Luxury Leads The Sample Sale Week With Brunello Cucinelli, Eleventy & Isaia
UPDATED: + Luciano Barbera

UPDATE:
As if three covetable Italian luxury brands aren't enough, Tuesday morning brings the news that LUCIANO BARBERA is joining the sale schedule this week with a seven-day sale at its showroom near Rockefeller Center beginning on Thursday. If you know that label, then you are getting excited. If you are a fan of Brunello Cucinelli, Isaia or Eleventy, then you should be getting excited. The drill is the same. Everything is going to be very expensive, but at up to 85% off, you might find some special pieces worth investing in, and devoted Barbera fans will be loading their arms with examples of the label's classic, elegant, handmade menswear with a sophisticated northern Italian touch.

ORIGINAL POST:
We really aren't sure if someone plans it this way, but sometimes the sample sale schedule converges in a way that highlights a particular category. IN this case, it's sophisticated, luxurious Italian apparel. Yesterday, the folks at BRUNELLO CUCINELLI launched their highly anticipated seasonal sample sale just off Fifth Avenue in midtown. The brand is one of those luxury mysteries that pop up in the fashion landscape. It's exorbitantly expensive, but also massively popular which means that there is an abundance of overstock left hanging around when it comes time to clear the warehouse in favor of new arrivals. The sale will run through Friday and, as with its fellow luxe labels like Loro Paina or Hermès, the prices are still staggering even at 60% off. That means that you will find fewer customers at the sale who load up their arms a lot more stuff. Still, it looks like there are enough goods to last through the week, but if you are a devoted Cucinelli fan or just looking to splurge on one special piece, we would recommend going sooner rather than later.
If that's still too rich for your blood, and you wouldn't be lamed if it is, a valid alternative has coincidentally opened its showroom to the public this very same week. Luxury label ELEVENTY offers a similar style of laid back Italian elegance at somewhat more digestible prices. The brand is no slouch —you'll find it in Barneys, Nordstrom and Bloomingdales as well as in its own SoHo boutique— but at around 80% off retail, the prices at this sale start out at $25 for small items and top out at $299 for outerwear and leather pieces. This sale is weighted a bit more heavily toward showroom samples, but there are still a few bigger stock sizes mixed in here and there, and more than enough cashmere and slouchy tailoring to satisfy any sprezzatura fan.
Rounding out the lineup of Italian artisanship, Neapolitan men's label ISAIA has returned to 260SampleSale's Wooster Street Location where it is scheduled to start welcoming its cultlike following today through Sunday. As usual, the pricey main label is joined by its somewhat more affordable little brother EIDOS offering a mix of past season's merchandise and a bit of current product that has been revamped by its latest creative director Simon Spurr in his signature streamlined style —keep an eye on the brand's ever-evolving logo to catch the differences from season to season. This time, the labels are sharing space with American heritage leathergoods label GHURKA which adds an welcome accessory component  to the assortment.
That's not all this week's sales are offering. There are some other heavy hitters operating  including contemporary powerhouse ALICE and OLIVIA which will be at 260 Fifth Avenue through the weekend. Over at Clothingline in the Garment District, KAREN MILLEN will be holding a three-day sale of samples and stock. Designer ULLA JOHNSON will be taking up residence at 150 Greene Street for four days starting on Thursday.

As always there are still more sales this week to be shopped like Ippo, Butter and Quinn Cashmere, so keep an eye on our SALE ROLL sidebar at left for hours and locations as well as any late breaking sales we can add.
Next week, save some cash for Desigual, Marc Jacobs, Helmut Lang and more.


SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

Stand In Line For DVF And Rag & Bone's Sample Sales This Week + Derek Lam, Frette & More

Holiday shopping at Sample Sales can be tricky. There are no returns or exchanges, but when you know you have found the right gift, it's worth the risk. Or maybe, you aren't shopping for gifts. It's OK. We can admit to a bit of shopping for ourselves during the Holiday season, and this year, we have an extra long stretch between Thanksgiving and New Years. Luckily, this week there are a few events that faithful bargain hunters anticipate every season.

Holding over from last week are AUTUMN CASHMERE, PONO jewelry and, for the more extravagant,NANCY GONZALEZ accessories, which are all good for gifts for oneself and anyone else on your list, but coming up, we have some heavy hitters.
On Tuesday, look for lines of eager shoppers outside two of 260SampleSale's main outlets. In NoMad, perennial fave RAG & BONE will be setting up shop on Fifth Avenue through the weekend with its usual mix of luxe sportswear, shoes and accessories for men and women. Down in SoHo on Greene Street, superstar DIANE VON FURSTENBERG will be offering discounts on her popular collections for the same time frame. One block west on Wooster Street find DEREK LAM sharing space with eyewear doyenne LINDA FARROW for their seasonal sales.

Well, that's a lot for any week, but Wednesday brings a two day WHITE + WARREN sale in the Garment District, three days of HANRO showroom samples on sale in the luxury innerwear label's midtown headquarters and a five-day FRETTE sale on Grand Street through the weekend. Thursday launches five days of ELIE TAHARI at Soiffer Haskin.

That ought to keep the city's community of sample sale shoppers busy enough, but some may want to hold out for the coming weeks when ISAIA, GHURKA, MARC JACOBS, ULLA JOHNSON and more will be tempting bargain hunters. Keep an eye on our SALE ROLL sidebar at left for hours, locations and any late-breaking sales. Happy Holiday shopping to all.


SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

Peak Sale Season NOW With Agnés B, Vivienne Westwood, Chloé + Late Entries From Moschino, Robert Geller & More

Hi Shophounders. We have been a bit quiet over here for a while, but the peak of the Sample Sale season is upon us, and we are doing our best to keep up with the chaos in our SALE ROLL sidebar at left. This is a particularly busy week what with major sales from Chloé, French sportswear cult fave Agnés B and old faithful James Perse going on right now. This is also the time of year when anticipated sales can sneak up on you, and we just learned of the long-popular AEFFE showroom sale, whose revolving roster now includes, Moschino, Alberta Ferretti, Jeremy Scott, Cedric Charlier and more, and menswear master Robert Geller both starting today.

That is, of course a lot to try and catch on a busy schedule, but get ready for next week, which will include the always popular sales for Christofle and Lalique at Soiffer Haskin, a major multi-brand sale at 260 5th Avenue led by Jil Sander, Jeans aplenty from J Brand and Current Elliott and another long-running showroom favorite, The News, which features reliable draws like Tim Coppens, Common Projects and Officine Generale among others —and those are just the ones we know about right now. In all likelihood, more others will crop up by this time next week. We'll try to keep everyone posted on the Sale Roll, and we might even give our Twitter account some extra exercise, so save up and be ready for some breaking sale news.


HAIL AND FAREWELL:

RACKED Takes A Final Bow

Today, our friends at RACKED published their final post. In the future, its content will be absorbed by "The Goods" by Vox, the media property that acquired the websites created by the Curbed blog network a few years ago. Racked's demise tells us something about the state of fashion blogging at the moment. The Shophound was already around when Lockhart Steele and Ben Leventhal, two of our earliest, key supporters, developed Racked, and we were among its first contributors. At that time a small blog could make a big impact very quickly, and one with Lock and Ben behind it could make a bigger one even faster. It was, in some strange ways, counterintuitively gratifying to have our original blog concept validated by a competitor/colleague.
Times have changed.
While we admit that The Shophound has not been at its most fastidious in posting recently, it must also be noted that the blogging landscape has evolved. Especially when it comes to topics like shopping and fashion —our own wheelhouse— things seem to have migrated toward YouTube and Instagram, media platforms which, while certainly entertaining, don't really suit The Shophound the way they do other "Influencers". It's just not our bag.
And that's OK.
Things change. It's the nature of the universe.
While we have slowed down our blogging activity, we aren't quite ready to throw in the towel just yet. There are still things that compel us to get a keyboard under our fingertips like the impending arrival of Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus to Manhattan, or the or the seemingly inevitable departures of Lord & Taylor's grand flagship and the beleaguered Henri Bendel from the very same borough.
We're just here to say a fond farewell to Racked. It was great to share that big blogging moment with you way back when.


GOING, GOING, GONE:

Henri Bendel To Be Put Out Of Its Misery By January

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Image: henribendel.com

After what has been decades of re-positioning and revamping, the erstwhile paragon of New York chic, Henri Bendel, will be closing its doors by the end of January. All 25 locations of the retailer will be shuttered by parent company L Brands including the Fifth Avenue flagship.
Anyone familiar with the store's most recent incarnation may wonder why it was constantly referred to as "Legendary", but up until about 10 years ago, Bendel's was still among the leading fashion retailers in New York. Its most vital period occurred from the 1960s through the 1980s when it was run by Geraldine Stutz, a luxury merchant who was something of a legend herself, responsible for introducing many a young designer to her influential customers including names like Stephen Burrows, Sonia Rykiel and Barry Kieselstein -Cord among many others. Having an in-store shop or even a dedicated counter at the original store at 10 West 57th Street was considered a coup in the industry. Stutz eventually acquired the store herself, and then sold it to The Limited in the mid-80s. Upon her retirement, Bendel's was moved to it's current, larger flagship on Fifth Avenue in the restored Coty Building, uncovering a forgotten set of Lalique glass windows that prompted the city to designate the building a landmark. Attempts by its owner to expand into a luxury chain to rival Neiman Marcus or Saks failed, as management revolved through the single-store retailer with varying results and responses from the fashion community and shoppers. Finally, in 2009, the company dropped apparel altogether to focus on beauty and accessories, a signal that its owner, now called L Brands, was ready to take another crack at mining some revenue from the brand. By 2014, the company had eliminated all other brands form its inventory, and would now focus on cosmetics and its own brand of moderately priced accessories and handbags. It seemed a far cry from the the store's rich heritage, and, it now seems to have been another ill-advised direction for the brand. It will cease to operate at the beginning of next year, leaving a lavish flagship, waiting for a tenant worthy of and rich enough for the space.


SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

Multibrand Sample Sale 'Clearances' Will Keep You Shopping Through The End Of Summer

Yes, The Shophound isn't dead, we have just been taking something of a summer vacation, processing the sad news that one of New York's iconic department stores, Lord & Taylor is shuttering its Fifth Avenue flagship while two major new entries, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom prepare their Manhattan arrivals slated for next year, both in unproven neighborhoods.
But that's all great for pricey grab-it-ass-soon-as-it-hits-the-floor shopping —which we have nothing against— but this time of year is either the time to breathlessly await those first new, fresh shipments of fall runway collections or, more pertinently, the time to hunt down those double-reduced, take an extra 30% to 50% off, end-of-season clearance bargains. Or both.
We have missed covering a few of the usual sample sales over the past month, and noticed that there ave been a few M.I.A. participants (no J.Crew Sample Sales this summer?) While some of our stalwart Sample Sale presenters have been doing their best to keep things rolling, this month is when we are seeing the final, clearance of the clearance sample sales. The owner of the city's busiest sample sale venues, 260 Sample Sale, has been running a Summer sale event at its Greene Street location in SoHo through next Sunday August 12th combining unsold merchandise form previous sales including labels like Diane von Furstenberg, Nicole Miller and Monique L'huillier to name a few. Less well publicized is the ongoing 260 Sample Sale Clearance Store that opened a couple of months ago at 704 Broadway in NoHo. There's no knowing how permanent such a shop is, but the random collection includes many of the upscale labels that 260 is known for at deeply discounted prices. This one os dyed in the wool sale forager, but there are finds to be found there.
Privé, which regularly pops up in the Chelsea Market, will offer multiple brands from today through Sunday the 5th as well as from next Thursday the 7th through Sunday the 12th. No specific brands are listed, but Privé regularly presents sales from Theory and Helmut Lang among many other popular labels.
The other major sale venues, Clothingline and Soiffer Haskin are taking August off, but for the die-hard shopper there are still some A-List sample sales coming up this month including a one-day moving sale from Yigal Azrouël, menswear stalwart Bonobos, athletic upstart Outdoor Voices and, yes, another Helmut Lang sale. As always, we will do our best to keep our SALE ROLL sidebar updated with hours and locations. Happy Summer Shopping.


LONG GOODBYE:

Prepare Your Farewells For Lord & Taylor On Fifth Avenue

Lord-and-Taylor-flagship
If the legendary Christmas displays do appear in Lord & Taylor's historic Fifth Avenue flagship windows this year, they will be the store's last. After selling the actual building to the voracious real estate consumer WeWork, the department store's parent company Hudson's Bay Co. announced last week that the store would be vacating the premises by the end of this year. To clarify, the chain is not folding, but this location (pictured above) along with a few other underperforming ones will be shuttering to try to stem some of HBC's recent losses.
While it is easy to get nostalgic about the departure of another of New York City's great retailers, one would have to note that this has not been as beloved a shopping destination as it's various owners over the years would have hoped it could be. The original plan was for HBC to simply maximize the building's value by selling it and leasing it back, a scheme that over the years has been frequently implemented. The Goodman family still owns the building that houses Bergdorf's where Neiman Marcus has paid its rent for decades. A similar arrangement exists at Bloomingdale's, and the initial plan for Lord & Taylor was for the store to be downsized, and for WeWork to lease out upper floors. In fairness, the mammoth store could easily have lost a few floors and consolidated its offerings for a more concise presentation and shopping experience, but, in the end, even that plan apparently didn't seem viable. While many retailers have been challenged by changing customer habits, this particular branch of Lord & Taylor also suffered from the same problem it has had for decades: Location, location, location.
One could argue that if the store had been situated a few blocks south at 34th street, which remains a teeming shopping corridor, it might have been able to survive, even thrive. By the time you get to 38th and Fifth, however, the crowds dissipate dramatically. For many years, Lord & Taylor had a genteel fellow anchor in B.Altman at 34th and Fifth, but that store has been gone since the late 80s early 90s department store bloodbath that also took out Gimbels, Bonwit Teller, Stern's and A&S. For a long time, shopping on Fifth Avenue was primarily concentrated in the stretch between Saks Fifth Avenue at 49th Street and Bergdorf Goodman at 58th. Thanks to chain stores like Zara, H&M, Urban Outfitters and others, the past decade has seen a resurgence that extended south to the New York Public Library at 42nd Street, but not to the one block further that would have brought shoppers to Lord & Taylor. It didn't help that the store's longtime owner, The May Co., seemed to have had a conflicted attitude toward what was supposed to be the crown jewel in its fleet of regional retail nameplates which have since been converted into Macy's branches. While they attempted to maintain the store's prestige with a continuing department of high-end designer women's apparel that was mostly ignored by its customers, they didn't bother to keep the store's interiors updated, allowing it to become increasingly dilapidated and outmoded. May was actually forced to sell the store when it merged with Macy's, and subsequent owners including HBC made commendable efforts to modernize, including major renovations that finally brightened the store's ambiance. Renewed emphasis on younger skewing merchandise and novelty departments would not, unfortunately, be enough to save the location, and by year's end, Lord & Taylor customers will have to make their way to Paramus, or Yonkers, or maybe Scarsdale, Manhasset or Garden City —New Jersey or New York, take your pick.
Lord & Taylor's historic store is not the only troublesome property that HBC unloaded last week. It also sold the flash sale retailer Gilt Group to its main competitor Rue La La. The once pioneering website had already fallen far since its heyday of discounted luxury designer goods when HBC bought it a few years ago. The hope that making it a more prestigious adjunct to its Saks Off Fifth outlet division did not pan out as the increasing scarcity of the prized designer labels it once sold in abundance made it hard to attract those wealthy customers that once descended upon the site at noon for its daily release of new merchandise. It seems unlikely that Gilt will be able to do that for Rue La La, but its new parent claims that it will maintain the two brands as distinct entities. Best of luck to them.


SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

GANT, Mara Hoffman & Brunello Cucinelli Lead This Week's Sales

The steady stream of spring sample sales flows on as shoppers lined up today on Houston Street to gain entry to MARA HOFFMAN's sale this morning in SoHo. They will likely be swarming through the weekend as the increasingly popular contemporary designer draws them in. Here are some highlights for the rest of the week's offerings:

There was less of a line outside the GANT sale a block away, this morning. While the sale will be running through the weekend, the brand's more conservative direction over the past few seasons may have cooled the demand among sample sale shoppers. The prices are very good, but, as has been the case these days with Gant, the majority of the offerings are actual samples, so the size ranges for most items is very limited.

In last minute additions, popular luxury designer BRUNELLO CUCINELLI will be holding a seasonal sale through Friday in Midtown. Expect major reductions on designer apparel for men and women including cashmere knitwear, with the caveat that deep discounts on wildly expensive clothes still leave some wildly expensive prices.

Over at Clothingline in the Garment District, the recent R13 sale is getting a three day continuation alongside CP COMPANY and EFM menswear among other labels.

For the whole family, AUTUMN CASHMERE will be opening its showroom through Friday featuring Men's Women's and Kids' collections for Spring 2018 at deep discounts.

For hours and locations along with more information on sales from Elie Tahari, Red Valentino, Pono, Montblanc, Quinn and more, see our SALE ROLL sidebar at left.


SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

It's Super Sale Tuesday With Rag & Bone vs. Paul Smith, Elie Saab vs. Marchesa & More

It's a cavalcade of designers going head to head with sample sales today and for the rest of the week. Let's dive in while the merchandise is fresh.

TUESDAY MAY 15
This is one busy Tuesday with several big draws opening all at the same time. Our friends at 260SampleSale have set heavy hitters RAG & BONE at 260 Fifth Avenue and PAUL SMITH on Wooster Street against each other through the rest of the week. The Paul Smith preview had the anticipated bounty of product, especially in shoes, but the Rag & Bone selection was noticeably slimmer that what we have come to expect from that label —unless there is more merchandise coming in. They both have 6 days of business to fill.
On a more extravagant level, couturiers, ELIE SAAB at Soiffer Haskin and MARCHESA at Shelly & Renée will be competing for luxe eveningwear shoppers with high budgets even at sample sale prices.
Also opening on Tuesday, contemporary designers VERONICA BEARD, HILTON HOLLIS, and NANETTE LEPORE along with luxe cildrenswear from BONPOINT.

WEDNESDAY MAY 16
Designer sneaker fanatics will be lining up on Greene Street near Houston Street for the BUSCEMI sale for men and women. Get there early.
Denim-heads can expect savings of up to 75% off at the DL 1961 sale in the Garment District for two days.

THURSDAY MAY 17
Look for an enthusiastic crowd as THE NEWS showroom begins its three day sale in SoHo featuring COMMON PROJECTS, TIM COPPENS, OFFICINE GÉNÉRALE among several other directional international labels.
Up in Chelsea, fashion veteran KIMORA LEE SIMMONS opens her showroom for 2 days to offer savings on her elegant signature collection.
Cult denim and sportswear label R13 will also be attracting a motivated following for its 4-day sale in SoHo.

SUNDAY MAY 20
Finally, you can cap off the weekend by dressing your bed in sumptuous sheets from Italian label FRETTE. Bath linens, Gifts and other Accessories will also be included through Wednesday.

Be sure to keep an eye on our SALE ROLL sidebar at left for hours and locations as well as late breaking events.


SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

Rebecca Minkoff, Helmut Lang, Jimmy Choo & Derek Lam Lead A Packed Sale Week

Yes, folks, the sample sale season has heated up. Last week we saw crowd packers like Herschel Supply and a triple hitter including S'well, Nest and Moleskine, and this week we have volume, volume volume with every venue full as designers and makers start clearing out inventory as cancellation dates take effect and space needs to be made for next season's goods. Here's a rundown by day of some of the week's highlights:

MONDAY MAY 7
Save up some line-standing time for REBECCA MINKOFF, making her reliable return to 260 Fifth Avenue with her reliable mix of well prices bags, shoes and contemporary fashion. the Men's Uri Minkoff label will also be featured but they will have to fight the faithful Minkoff ladies for entry.

TUESDAY MAY 8
HELMUT LANG is first on the docket for Tuesday now at 260SampleSale's Spring Street location. It's currently a label in flux, so it's hard to know exactly what will be there, but look for minimalistic looks and possibly some re-issued Lang classics.
CHRISTOFLE runs a close second with its seasonal visit to Soiffer Haskin through the weekend. It's an excellent place to grab a luxe Mothers' Day gift if your Mom's into silver tabletop and accessories items. It will share space with Italian jeweler PAOLO COSTAGLI.
Luxury hosiery fans will know to keep an eye out for WOLFORD's sale at its Seventh Avenue showroom running for three days through Thursday.

WEDNESDAY MAY 9
It's time for JIMMY CHOO as the designer shoe sample sales roll out this season. Three public shopping days at the Metropolitan Pavilion will feature discounts up to 80% on Women's and Men's shoes that can be reliably counted on to pull crowds. To manage them, the company is requiring an online RSVP. CLICK HERE and enter the code ROMY. We are told that they are strict.
After you have got your shoes, head to Bond Street for SELIMA OPTIQUE's seasonal sale featuring her quirky new and vintage eyewear, apparel and accessories
While you are downtown, DEREK LAM will be filling up 260SampleSale's third location on Wooster Street through the weekend with both his signature label and the 10 CROSBY diffusion collection.

THURSDAY MAY 10
What started as an eco-socio-conscious denim and t-shirt line from Bono called EDUN has evolved into a more sophisticated designer collection, and it will be available at up to 90% off at its Grand Street showroom in SoHo for three days. Look for bargains form the Spring 2017 collection and more.

A look at our SALE ROLL sidebar at left will show even more sales, so be sure to check there for hours and locations.
Next week, even more heavy hitters come out as Paul Smith and Rag & Bone go head to head with much more to come.


CHAIN GANG:

MUJI Unveils A Major Makeover For Its Original U.S. Store

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Photo courtesy of MUJI

Has really been over 10 years since the Japanese concept retailer MUJI made its American debut on a slightly offbeat block of Broadway in SoHo? That was way back in November of 2017, and since then, the chain has charmed shoppers in New York, Boston and up and down the coast of California with its deceptively sophisticated mix of minimalistic merchandise ranging from apparel to kitchenware to home furnishings to a plethora of pens and paper goods. It's hard to walk through a Muji store without pondering where one might find a place for a sleek stack of polypropylene drawers just to make things a bit tidier around the house. As the chainlet expanded through a series of increasingly spacious stores throughout the city, its original location began to feel a little bit cramped. Despite the fact that it has remained the highest volume location in the U.S., the past few months have seen the store undergo a dramatic update that added a new shopping floor and a multi-fold expansion of its square footage. With the new expansion unveiled over the weekend, SoHo shoppers now have the full assortment of Muji offerings including fragrances and skin care and extra services like an embroidery station for personalization. Now that Muji's most productive location has been upgraded, the company will turn its attention towards other unexplored U.S. regions. The East and West coasts have discovered and embraced the concept of simple but well designed, useful things, the next Muji stores will start appearing closer to the middle of the country to see if the midwest takes to the stores with the same enthusiasm as the coasts have.

See below to browse a gallery of the newly revamped SoHo store at 455 Broadway (Between Grand and Howard Streets)
Scroll and click each image for a larger view.
Images courtesy of MUJI


FLAGSHIP FLASH:

Nordstrom's First Men's Store Makes The Chain's NYC Debut

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The doors are finally open at Nordstrom's first New York City store. It has been a long wait for the company to finally enter the city, and though it has already opened a series of off-price Nordstrom Rack stores here, this is the first iteration of the retailer's full-price concept to reach NYC, even if it is really an adjunct unit to the grand flagship store still under construction across Broadway. That store is now projected to open in time for the Fall 2019 season.
Of course, this is no ordinary Nordstrom branch. Not only is it the company's first all-menswear store, but it is also the rare unit that has been constructed within an existing building creating some unusual architectural challenges that we will get to later. First, let's get to the important bit: What's in the store? Those New Yorkers who don't get to suburban malls very often may not be familiar with Nordstrom's merchandising strategy. For Manhattanites, it can probably be best compared to Bloomingdale's (minus the furniture, kitchen and home furnishings departments) in the sense that it's merchandise can range, depending on the location, from Misses and Young Men's categories up to the most exclusive international luxury labels. On the whole, it is one of the most important mens retailers in the country, and most of its vendors can reliably count it as its biggest retail client by far, so a separate men's store makes sense for the chain. It also allows the retailer to open in the city about 18 months ahead of the rest of its splashy main flagship. Nordstrom has traditionally had something of a middle-of-the road fashion image as far as menswear goes, but it has has gone about updating that over the past decade. For this store, the first designer racks you see entering through the doors on Broadway between 57th and 58th streets belong to Gosha Rubchinsky, Loewe and Comme des Garçons Homme Plus. That makes a hard won statement. Nordstrom merchants have made an effort to play down the most popular (and lucrative) brands it carries in favor of labels with more limited distribution or the kind of cult appeal that will excite jaded New York shoppers. So there are Moscot sunglasses mixed in amongst the more ubiquitous Tom Ford and Gucci frames. While Tommy Bahama has been excused from this particular store, high volume producers Theory and Hugo Boss are still there, but pushed toward the back. 
Downstairs, there is a coffee bar, a blander casual sportswear section and the centerpiece of any Nordstrom store: the shoe department. Here is where the store's more egalitarian ethos comes into focus most clearly. It takes up a large section of the block-long floor and features an assortment that ranges from Timberland to Christian Louboutin. There are lavish Gucci sneakers only a few steps away from more prosaic Nikes and Adidas and everything in between arrayed just a few steps further. Up on the second floor, high fashion designer collections share quarters with Tailored clothing. Collections like Dior Homme, Givenchy, Valentino and Calvin Klein 205W39NYC are in the spotlight with distinct mini-shops proving the store's luxury bona fides as more classic upscale sportswear takes shoppers into the suit department. Rather than the extensive banks of suit racks that you may still see in some more traditional Nordstrom locations, the emphasis here is more on fashion as well with patterned shirts and surprisingly few ties on display. In the back corner we found  a full bar for those brave enough to drink and shop with a private shopping are tucked behind it.
As expected the store was operating with a full, beaming sales staff. You can't reasonably be annoyed that every associate goes out of their way to greet you when it is opening day, but , to their credit, they were neither cloying nor overbearing, just generally friendly and available if you needed them.  Also seen was a full complement of Nordstrom executives looking alternately proud and anxious, along with the inevitable scouts from other retailers curious to see what the new entrant is bringing to the game. We spotted Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus Men's Fashion Director Bruce Pask snooping around the shoe department, and you can confidently assume that by now, his counterparts at Saks, Bloomingdale's and Barneys have all been through the place with a fine toothed comb.
As far as the store itself goes, its unorthodox footprint presents it with an unusual challenge, a split main floor, due to the main entrance of the office building above at 300 Columbus Circle. This separate section is accessible from both the upper and lower floors, but not from the rest of the main floor, not unlike the predicament Bergdorf Goodman found itself in when its mens store opened in 1990 while it waited five years for one small store on Fifth Avenue to run out its lease. Nordstrom, however is unlikely to recapture that space like Bergdorf's eventually did, and its side store is currently devoted to jeans, fragrance and grooming and a specialty electronics department. It's the concession they made to get to New York. It seems like everyone has to make one on some level —however real or figurative. We aren't worried that it will hold them back too much. The store was certainly busy with curious shoppers who looked like they were also eagerly buying. Nordstrom has opened the first major men's store in the city since Bergdorf's spun off its men's department into the former FAO Schwarz space 28 years ago. That tells you what a challenging market it is to enter. One thinks one the withering defeat that the much admired Louis, Boston suffered when its ambitious New York store ended its brief tenure in the late 1980s. That unfortunate rejection by locals has scared off some retailers from other cities for decades. Nordstrom has been trying to open a flagship in New York for even longer than that. While they aren't completely done yet, They have made a strong start. Thanks to suburban branches in the New York and New Jersey suburbs, they are not an unknown interloper to proud NYC shoppers, but a well liked mainstay they have been anticipating. So far, it looks like Nordstrom will not disappoint.


GROCERY GAME:

The Trader Joe's Sign Goes Up On Columbus Avenue

TJ-UWS-Sign

It's been a tedious wait for the Trader Joe's on Columbus Avenue to open, and while it hasn't happened yet, we are getting close. This week, we saw the sign being affixed above the future store's entrance at Columbus Avenue and 93rd Street, which means the official opening (still listed as "coming soon" on the chain's website) can't be too far away. A look through the store's large, uncovered windows tells us that the check-out registers are hooked up, and the shelves appear are ready to be stocked. Anyone who has had to experience the winding check-out line of the cramped, multi-level Trader Joe's at 72nd and Broadway will appreciate a second unit on the Upper West Side to alleviate the teeming crowds at busy shopping times —or perhaps there will just be more teeming crowds. At least they will be more convenient for us here at Shophound HQ.  The new store will also add a relatively affordable food store for the West 90s neighborhood which, despite Whole Foods and Westside Market branches within a few blocks, has only a Gristedes and a tiny Associated to serve as traditional supermarkets. We are projecting an opening within the next few weeks, if not sooner.


SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

A Rare Brooks Brothers Warehouse Sale Kicks The Sample Sale Schedule Back Into Gear With Proenza Schouler, Ghurka, Saturdays NYC & More

it's been a relatively quiet few months on the Sample Sale front, but it's about time for that to change as retailers are closing in on cancellation dates for Spring deliveries, and designers are getting ready to unload overstock and empty out their warehouses. One such warehouse is that bastion of classicism, BROOKS BROTHERS, who launched a three day shoe and accessory warehouse today just around the corner from its Midtown flagship. While the venerated retailer's elevated fare may still bee too stodgy for the fashion-y crown, it's shoe offerings have always had fans across the boars, and with most of the offerings at this sale priced at 80% off the original retail price, this will be a blowout for as long as the stock lasts. A visit this morning showed that selection may vary depending on size, so if you are a very popular size (sorry 9Ds) there may not be as many styles available as you would hope. Bog and tiny-footed folk may fare better, and the makers available include Red Wing, Allen Edmonds, the exclusive English label Peal & Co., and shoe connoisseur favorite Edward Green, whose pricey label the retailer appears to be dropping.
If shoes aren't your bag, then there are plenty of other bargains to be found like chunky knitted cashmere mufflers for under $50, hats from Stetson and Locke & Co. and various leathergoods from wallets to formal briefcases. While there is a selection of women's merchandise, the vast majority of the offerings are for men. You will immediately know if this is a sale you can't miss, and you have until Thursday to shop.

Also along the classic line, traditional leather brand GHURKA has returned to the sale schedule this week through Thursday offering up to 75% off bags and accessories for men and women, and promising enough product to fill Soiffer Haskin's cavernous facility.

Back to clothes, British contemporary sportswear chain REISS LONDON is at 260 Fifth Avenue starting today through Sunday featuring up to 70% off its men's and women's collections.

For a little bit more rarefied tastes, the celebrated PROENZA SCHOULER will be offering up to 70% off its apparel, shoes and accessories on Wooster Street in SoHo starting on Wednesday the 21st. Look for long lines of style obsessed shoppers.

Also on Wednesday, men's casual label SATURDAYS NYC will be taking up residence in Chelsea Market offering sportswear, shoes and beach basics through Sunday .

Bridal and Evening specialist ROMONA KEVEZA has become a red carpet regular, but her bridal wear also fuels her business. Both are expected to be on offer starting on Thursday for three days on Greene Street in SoHo.

Finally, Sunday brings the return of JOHN HARDY to Soiffer Haskin for the brand's seasonal clearance featuring Sterling silver, gold and precious gemstones at up to 65% off regular prices.

See our SALE ROLL sidebar for hours and locations as well as late-breaking events. Coming up, look for big names like Versace along with popular brands like Milly, The Kooples, Desigual and more.