SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

Robert Clergerie Joins The New York Sample Sale Scene

Clergerie Sale
Image via Lazarshopping.com

Much loved French footwear designer Robert Clergerie will launch the label's first New York sample sale today. Now known as Clergerie Paris, the brand will take up residence in the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea for a three-day sale that is promising over 3,000 pairs of shoes for women priced from $55 to $245 which amounts to about 80% off retail prices. The label has been known over the decades for classic styles with a twist including chunky soles, funky oxfords and elasticated uppers with sculptural heels all made with high quality standards in French factories. A small men's selection is also promised as the brand has produced men's footwear over the years under its own brand as well as the J.Fenestrier label. Expect some lines, but for the Clergerie cult, this one is a can't-miss.

See details after the jump, and on our SALE ROLL at left

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Robert Clergerie Joins The New York Sample Sale Scene" »


SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

The Y-3 Adidas Sample Sale Hits The Big Time

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It has been a while since The Shophound has stumbled upon an Adidas Sample Sale. The last one we went to was years ago when it was a relatively quiet affair held in the brand's showroom above it's Broadway flagship in NoHo featuring the Yohji Yamamoto Y-3 collaboration alongside the now defunct SLVR collection. Well, things have changed, and Y-3 has surfed the streetwear boom into something way beyond cult status, while the Adidas label has spurred a host of other designer collaborations. They can all be found starting today at 260SampleSale's spacious Wooster Street outpost in SoHo. Look for a long line, even in today's wet weather. Last night's preview found a hungry crowd of Y-3 VIPs loading up on sneakers at $93 a pop ($123 for hi-tops) which typically retail between $280 and $400. That will give you a general idea of the deep discounts available at 260's largest venue. Downstairs the apparel racks ($33 to $123) were being ransacked so fans looking for fashion pieces should not dawdle waiting for possible additional reductions towards the end of the week. In addition, there was an abundance of accessories including some coveted logo festooned backpacks going for a rock bottom $73. They usually sell for up to $600.
But red-hot Y-3 was not the only Adidas collection on offer. While it dominated the merchandise selection, there was also plenty of the ongoing Stella McCartney collaboration available as well as footwear from the Wings + Horns team-up of a season or two ago, and a smaller selection of Alexander Wang styles. While Rick Owens' and Raf Simons' collaborations appeared on the price list, we saw none of these coveted labels inside, and we arrived as the doors opened. Still, there was plenty to be had including formerly pricey cleats from Adidas Football and several vintage inspired styles from the "Spezial" collection from the label's Originals Consortium division. The sale runs through Sunday, but don't sleep on it. While merchandise was already being restocked during the preview, we don't know how much —or which sizes— will be left as the week progresses.

Look after the jump for price lists and check below or our SALE ROLL at left for hours and other details.260SampleSale_Adidas(GenPop) - Digital

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The Y-3 Adidas Sample Sale Hits The Big Time" »


SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

The Gant Sample Sale Reliably Returns Next Week

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Like the most trustworthy clockwork, the Gant Sample Sale will return for some late-summer bargain shopping on Tuesday August 20th at 260SampleSale's namesake NoMad location. As usual, one can expect a vast selection of classic sportswear with a very subtle dash of fashion spice. It's hasn't been quite the bonanza it once was in the days of the Michael Bastian collaboration and more the fashion forward Gant Rugger label, but it is still a valuable resource for those who can't get enough classic sportswear pieces at greatly reduced prices —especially for those who are fortunate to be sample size as most of the merchandise will be. Look to start lining up on Thursday the 20th of August. See our SALE ROLL sidebar for details and more sales.

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Images courtesy of GANT

The Gant Sample Sale
August 20 - 25 2019
260 Fifth Avenue between 28th & 29th Streets, NoMad


SAMPLE SALE ALERT:

The Steven Alan Sample Sale Returns Home To The Showroom

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image: stevenalan.com

After seasons of off-site operations like a lengthy stint with 260SampleSales and a few runs at Industry City in Sunset Park, the Steven Alan Sample Sale will be returning to its original location at the brand's showroom on Franklin Street in Tribeca. Yes, remember that cramped, uncomfortable space with the long, around-the-block lines? Fans of those reverse seam shirts in their myriad striped and checked incarnations sure will, and they were probably relieved when the company finally ditched it for more efficient lodgings. Since then, however, the retailer has downsized from a sprawling network of boutiques in New York and other cities to just the one original location downtown. A roster of alternative casual sportswear labels is still promised for the 4-day sale. We shall see if the epic lines of years past will re-materialize starting this Thursday August 15th. See our SALE ROLL sidebar for details and more sales.

The Steven Alan Sample Sale
August 15 - 18, 2019
103 Franklin Street between West Broadway & Church Street, Tribeca


THAT WAS FAST:

Saks Fifth Avenue Quietly Kills Its Downtown Women's Store

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With little fanfare, Saks Fifth Avenue has shuttered its much ballyhooed Brookfield Place Women's store. Last Saturday, January 5th, was its last day of business, and shoppers were not exactly swarming.
Saks spokespeople are now calling the store a "test concept" that proved in its just over two-year lifespan that Saks shoppers prefer a full line department store environment like its immense Fifth Avenue flagship over a smaller, more curated boutique-like assortment. Other observers might note that store's location within the revamped luxury shopping complex was far from optimal, set off from the main clusters of shops through a long corridor that hid it from view. Meant to be a big-name anchor, it was completely invisible from Brookfield Place's signature grove of palm trees and the popular Hudson Eats and Le District food areas.
Others might note that the closure is a signal that the Financial District's potential as a luxury shopping hub may be more limited than real estate interests would have had us believe when the neighborhood was being re-developed after 9/11. Many skeptics questioned whether even New York City could support yet another concentration of luxury stores in addition to traditionally tony areas like Fifth Avenue in Midtown, Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side and SoHo. As designers seemed to flee the relatively new Meatpacking District/Bleecker Street enclave which once seemed like a promising destination, it was hard to imagine that customers of such means would now flock to the Financial District, a problem the location faced when it originally debuted in the late 1980s as the World Financial Center.
At that time, the anchor store was the first branch location of Barneys New York, a men's only store. With that in mind, it is not so surprising that while its women's store is closed, Saks is keeping its Brookfield Place Men's Store open for the foreseeable future. The Financial District has always been seen as more hospitable to men's retailers with its namesake local businesses known for an employee base packed with highly paid men who didn't mind expressing their success with luxurious wardrobes. While those business now include more women, they are still known as boys' clubs, and it's worth noting that while the Saks Men's store is staying open, SuitSupply, the breakout menswear retailer from Amsterdam, is tripling the size of its Brookfield Place branch in a section of the complex that also includes Paul Smith, J.Crew and a Club Monaco Mens Store.
So far, the other luxury retail tenants at Brookfield like Hermès, Bottega Veneta, Salvatore Ferragamo and Gucci, appear to be staying put, though most of them operate much smaller units than their Midtown flagships. It will be more interesting to see how they continue to fare as shoppers turn their attention to more exciting, newer shopping arrivals like the city's first Neiman Marcus store in the wholly manufactured Hudson Yards neighborhood set to open this Spring, or the city's first full line Nordstrom which will complete its mega-flagship's opening this Fall. One has to wonder exactly how many high end shopping destinations Manhattan can be expected to support?


SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

Just A Few Winter Sample Sales To Keep You Shopping

It's not the busiest time of year for sample sales here in mid-January, but it's not totally dead either. While there are some very good deals to be had at regular retail stores' final clearance sales (can you beat 60% off the sale price at J.Crew?), there's still a few specialized sample sales around town worth checking out.

You may not have heard of shoe designer NOAH WAXMAN yet, but there are some extremely tempting shoes and boots at 80% off retail waiting for you in the showroom to snap them up through next Friday. A long sample sales usually means that there's going to be lots to choose from, and everyone needs a winter shoe-pick-me-up.
For athletic men looking for something to goose their workout during the short days of January, stylish workout wear label RHONE will be at 260 Fifth Avenue through Sunday the 13th, and they have already had one additional reduction as we post this.
Starting on Friday the 11th SAVE KHAKI UNITED is opening a new SAVE SURPLUS store in the East Village featuring merchandise from past seasons at deep discounts. This will be a perfect stop for anyone in need of a basics wardrobe refresh.

Next Monday & Tuesday, KAREN MILLEN will be having a blowout sale at Clothingline with prices ranging from a whopping $10 all the way to $40.
On Tuesday the 15th, SD will be returning to 260 Fifth Avenue promising 75% off retail prices, to start with. . .

In upcoming weeks, mark your calendars for sales from Bonobos, Theory, Helmut Lang, Buscemi and more. Keep your eye on our SALE ROLL sidebar at left for hours, locations and late breaking sales.


SAMPLE CIRCUIT FLASH:

Don't Miss Late Breaking Sales From Vince & Barena

It seems like this is the week for extra bonus sales. In addition to the previously announced Hugo Boss Holiday Sale, the folks at Privé have announced a last minute VINCE. sale of menswear only starting tomorrow the 20th through Saturday. Look for deep 75% discounts, but don't go to its usual Chelsea Market spot. For the moment, Privé is using a nearby space on 14th Street and Month Avenue next door to The Kooples.
In addition, the luxurious M5 showroom will be opening its doors today through Friday with a selection of its coveted Italian brands including BARENA, HERNO, LARDINI, J.W.BRINE among others.

Keep an eye on our SALE ROLL at left for locations and hours.


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

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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.