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Jean-Michel Cazabat's Bleecker Street Boutique Turns To ASH
+ More Turnover Nearby

If large parts of Manhattan are suffering from too much available retail real estate, than there are still a few other streets where stores do not sit empty for too long. Bleecker Street between Christopher and Bank Streets in the West Village has been one of them, but even there, a few stores are out of commission or undergoing transition. The theory on this street has recently been that any time a retail space becomes available, Marc Jacobs will swoop in and take it over, but even he may have maxed out on the West Village as his company turns its eye to larger stores in other Manhattan neighborhoods. There are some spaces coming up that Marc may not be as quick to absorb. For starters, the glamorous Jean-Michel Cazabat shoe boutique is now an ASH shoes sale pop-up store.
Is Cazabat out of business?
You can still buy his shoes at Barneys and other stores, but you may notice that his prices have jumped. The designer has moved his production back to Italy from China, which also pushed him back into the luxury category, precipitating a split from his backers who also own the Ash brand and have smoothly moved it into the Bleecker Street space —for the moment, at least.

Corporate changes have had an effect on several other Bleecker Street stores as well. Kurt Geiger's management has bought the company out from parent Jones Group which is currently being dismantled piece by piece, so that shoe store has remained in place. Juicy Couture, however, has been sold and and has exited its sizable store (pictured below) which remains under the control of former parent Kate Spade & Co. (formerly Fifth & Pacific, formerly Liz Claiborne & Co.). Will Kate move in? It seems like too good of a space to pass up, but for now, the sign in the window says the empty store is available. A few blocks away, brother shop Jack Spade is covered in green painted plywood, but its website lists it as temporarily under renovation, so we expect it to return soon enough.

Sadly, one well liked store seems to be gone from Bleecker for good. Freeman's Sporting Club appears to have exited its store at no. 343. Though it is still listed on the website, the shop is empty and available. FSC had a challenging time in the West Village. It's first location on the corner of Bleecker and Christopher streets had to be moved with little notice shortly after opening when the building was declared structurally unsafe —always a bummer. Happily, the store was able to swiftly move half a block to 343 where a temporary store eventually became a permanent outpost. That space, however, is now empty and available. East of Christopher Street, there are more vacancies including the former J.A.C.H.S. boutique*J.Press York Street sells a label which is reportedly being discontinued by the uber-traditional menswear retailer. Will J.Press fill it with a selection from its classic assortments this Fall? As its flagship is still under an extended renovation, it would give its loyal New York customers a local place to shop the brand albeit in an inconvenient location, though it's more likely that the space will be marketed to other retailers. How long some of these spaces take to be filled will say a lot about Bleecker Street's status to retailers in the coming months. If the are leased quickly, then the stretch remains near the top of Manhattan's most desirable shopping locations, but if we start to see the kind of vacancies that are plaguing the Upper East Side and the nearby Meatpacking District, then Bleecker's heyday may be coming to an end. Have a look as some of these storefronts in the gallery below.
*Correction: The J.A.C.H.S. Store is not in fact closed and is open for business. We mistook it for different empty store on the same block.

  • NotJuicyAnymore
  • JackSpadePlywood
  • FCS-Bleecker

New York Paradox: The Post Addresses New York's Empty Store Problem


Spring Comes To Shinola With A Flower Pop-Up & Block Party With Steven Alan

ShinolaStevenAlanBlockPartySpring, it seems, is finally here for real, and our friends at Shinola are celebrating. You would think that a brand from Detroit would be less rattled by the horrible Winter we have all just endured, but they seem happier than anyone to look ahead to warmer days.

The Shophound stopped Shinola's TriBeCa boutique earlier this month to see how the unconventional brand revival was faring. We hadn't been in since it opened last year, and it seems that things are more than humming along nicely. The Detroit factory can't seem to make those smartly designed watches fast enough, and there are more styles than ever, with many of them out on the counter for you to peruse and try on at will. The smart leathergoods collection continues to expand with new styles and colors, and even the bicycle division is growing, including a special loaner program that puts guests from the nearby Greenwich Hotel on a Shinola Bike to cycle around the city during their stays. Not content to rest on its own community-minded business model, the store has regularly spearheaded additional initiatives, including a program with Brooklyn's Public-Supply which offers a classic box of 12 No. 2 graphite pencils in signature Shinola Orange for a mere $12. whose profits will support creative arts classrooms in Detroit Public Schools.

But it's this week that the store is extra busy.
Starting with Thurdsay evening May (click the image above to enlarge) 1 at 6 PM, Shinola is hosting a Franklin Street Block Party along with neighbor Steven Alan to kick off their road-show and celebrate the new season. Alan will be offering 20% off his private label line in his stores, and Shinola will be offering free monogramming for the event. There will be Roberta's Pizza for all and complimentary drinks from George Dickel (provided you have ID, of course).

But that's not all. On Saturday the 3rd, Shinola will be hosting a Mother's Day Flower Store Pop-Up with Fox Fodder Farm where customers can order arrangements for Mom (or whoever you think needs some flowers) in advance or buy them right there.
And stay tuned for June, where there will be another special pop-up for Father's Day.


Gisele Bündchen Is A Singer Now

It was probably only a matter of time, but Brazilian Supermodel, NFL Wife, occasional Actress and general Media Sensation Gisele Bündchen is now a singer having recorded a cover of the Blondie classic "Heart of Glass" with French DJ and Producer Bob Sinclar. She doesn't embarrass herself, but there's no chance she is going to make you forget Debbie Harry either. Whether this is a new career direction remains to be seen, because it looks like Bündchen and Sinclar recorded the single as a part of the summer campaign for H&M that features the model in her native garb, a bathing suit —or a few bathing suits to be precise. You can see Bob Sinclar make a special appearance at H&M in Times Square this Friday, May 2nd from 6 PM to 8 PM to lauinch the campaign. Customers will get 20% off the new collection and the chance to hear a set from an exceptionally fine International Superstar DJ if only for a couple of hours. Will Gisele be there? Not that we have heard, but stranger things have been known to happen, and it wouldn't be a bad idea if she is serious about this singing thing. In any event, all revenue from the single (available exclusively on iTunes) to UNICEF's ongoing education initiatives. Judge Gisele's newfound talents for yourself in the video after the jump

Continue reading "MODEL TURNED...

Gisele Bündchen Is A Singer Now" »


The Manolo Blahnik Sample Sale
Is On Thursday + Moschino, ICB,
Zadig & Voltaire & Much More

We just added 13 new sales to the SALE ROLL on our left sidebar, so, as we predicted, the sample sale season is about to hit its peak month starting with the short notice/long line mother of them all, The MANOLO BLAHNIK sale which will happen on Thursday May 1 at noon at its usual midtown location. As always, this is a big one with a long line of eager shoppers many of whom have risen before dawn. Follow their example.

But that's not all. there are more than a few big sales this week. Here are but a few choice options, and take note, this week may require some careful scheduling:

Tuesday the 29th will bring you to the shadow of the Flatiron building for the popular French sportswear label ZADIG & VOLTAIRE which will be back st 260 Fifth Avenue for the rest of the week. The label has gotten a strong foothold in the city, and this sale is known for abundance and good prices, so get there early

Onward Kashiyama is a seasonal favorite in the Garment District which features Prabal Gurung's ICB collection for Women and classic J.PRESS prep-wear for men which is expected to include the final season of the YORK STREET label designed by the brothers of Ovadia & Sons. Starts Wednesday the 30th.

Also on Wednesday is another heavy hitter, the AEFFE showroom sale featuring both ALBERTA FERRETTI's main label and PHILOSPHY, MOSCHINO, the newly re-invigorated EMANUEL UNGARO designed by Fausto Puglisi, CEDRIC CHARLIER, POLLINI and Jean Paul Gaultier's JPG SOLEIL

VIVIENNE TAM is another popular favorite starting also on Wednesday, so shoppers should probably just take the whole day and bring a big satchel and some Power Bars to make it through.

You might be able to rest up for a couple of days before Soiffer-Haskin unveils a luxury triple header featuring CHRISTOFLE's silver, flatware and gifts, DiMODOLO's jewelry and watches and VBH's exotic handbags at its midtown facility near Penn Station.

If you have any energy (or money) left you might check out ROBERTO CAVALLI's CLASS diffusion line on West 57th Street, and then go home and prepare yourself for the rest of the month, because it only gets busier.

Be sure to check the SALE ROLL for details and breaking sales. Next week: NANCY GONZALEZ, RAOUL, REBECCA MINKOFF and more.


The Post Addresses New York's
Empty Store Problem

Last month, The Shophound was struck by how many retail spaces in the ostensibly hot Meatpacking District were empty, and had been so for months on end with little to suggest that things would change anytime soon (pictured above). Over the weekend, Steve Cuozzo at The New York Post points out that this has become a citywide problem, pointing to the intersection of Third Avenue and 61st Street where, one block north of busy Bloomingdale's, three out of the four corners are hosting long-term vacancies. He notes that nobody has actually quantified all of the available space in a New York and what it is being asked for it. We really don't have the statistics to tell us how bad this problem is, but our eyes can tell us that something is amiss, or worse. "It’s a shame," he writes, "because window-shopping is more fun when there’s something in the window prettier than a broker’s name and a promise that the dark hole is “prime.”

While real estate brokers are hard-selling major newly developed and redeveloped properties downtown in the Financial District and at Hudson Yards in the far West 30s as new luxury shopping destinations, there appears, to the casual observer, to be no shortage of empty storefronts not just in the Meatpacking District and on the wealthy Upper East Side, but also in Chelsea and on the Upper West Side, and Murray Hill, and pretty much everywhere else in the city that isn't Hudson Yards or 3 and 4 World Trade Center or Brookfield Place or the soon to be gleaming new South Street Seaport Pier 17. Why, if there is such an abundance of retail opportunity in Manhattan, are so many affluent neighborhoods looking nearly blighted with empty stores, many of which until recently held long term and often beloved local businesses pushed out by onerous lease renewal terms?

Cuozzo offers more than a few explanations. Greedy landlords are simply overestimating the value of their retail spaces or are forced to overvalue them in order to secure construction loans. Many buildings are now under foreign ownership by landlords who have no idea how the New York real estate market works and have been known to routinely disrupt lease negotiations with new unrealistic demands and conditions that destroy nearly completed deals. The development boom has created more space that New York's merchants actually need. The 10 to 25 year-old leases coming up for renewal were in many cases signed when the city's retail spaces were undervalued and so most renewals will reasonably include some kind of substantial increase for which tenants are often unprepared. Landlords are increasingly willing to throw over the independent storeowner for a "credit" tenant like a bank or a national chain whose ability to meet costs are less dependent on business in a single location. The building owners are content to leave spaces empty for extended periods until they finally get these tenants, many of which create shopping stretches composed of banks alternating with drugstores and little else. These are just a sampling of the factors that have caused a disturbing disconnect in the cost of retail space and the number of vacant stores waiting to be filled.

If these empty retail spaces were dresses hanging unsold on a rack, they would get marked down until they attracted customers. Sadly, real estate does not seem to operate under the same principle. Cuozzo offers a few solutions, including some common sense remedies like more reasonable appraisals of what some landlords should be demanding in rent, and easing some of the arcane regulations facing new storeowners and particularly restaurateurs. he also points to the Upper West Side's new regulations regarding the size of new storefronts in certain areas. Meant to discourage large big box stores from shutting out smaller players by commandeering whole blocks, the rules may have had a chilling effect on leasing any space at all. The most important step, however is for the city's real estate forces (and government) to recognize that there is a problem at all. They seem so busy promoting shiny new projects, that they don't seem to notice that scores of empty stores are damaging neighborhoods and mitigating the appeal of the expensive apartments under which they sit. "Is it in anyone’s interest to have so many empty windows?" Cuozzo asks, "We’re becoming a city everyone wants to live in — with no places to shop."

Why a booming Manhattan is full of empty storefronts by Steve Cuozzo (NYPost)
Space Available: There Are A Lot Of Empty Stores On 14th Street In The Meatpacking District



Gucci, Giuseppe Zanotti, Givenchy, Sergio Rossi, Helmut Lang, RED Valentino, Oakley, Nudie, Dsquared2, Lanvin, Rebecca Minkoff

Here is your weekly sampling of some of the brands you can expect to find on the bigger online Flash Sale Sites this week. You should click over to the sites themselves for a full schedule of events, and be sure to check for the correct start time for each sale. Happy clicking!

Gucci, Puma, James Jeans, Giuseppe Zanotti/Sergio Rossi, Helmut Lang, Schutz, Elie Tahari, Greylin, Lauren Wolf Jewelry, Piranesi Fine Jewelry, Armani Collezioni, Victorinox, Dr. Martens, Giorgio Fedon, Punto Socks, Desanto Italia Belts  —join HERE
Givenchy, Kay Unger, S.T. Dupont, Butter London, Calvin Klein, Konstantino, Lucien Piccard, Richart, Hanro, Smith Optics, RED Valentino, Hudson Jeans, CATHERINE Catherine Malandrino, Elizabeth and James, La Mer, Laudi Vidni, Mephisto, Miriam Merenfeld Jewelry, James Campbell, Alex and Ani, Current/Elliott, Joan Vass, Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, WMF Cutlery & Cookware, Thomas Dean —join HERE
Bottega Veneta, Chloé, Saint Laurent, Michael Kors Sunglasses, Thierry Mugler Watches, Oakley, G. Fox & Co., Prada, Invicta, Ray Ban, Melissa Shoes, Giorgio Bellini, Kenneth Cole —join HERE
Free People, Steve Madden, Josie Maran, Haute Hippie, Genetic Denim, Birkenstock, Banksy, Jeffrey Campbell, Tart, Nudie Jeans, Keen, Dsquared2 Underwear, American Apparel, Dr. Martens —join HERE
Andrew Marc, ESQ Movado, Giorgio Armani, Psycho Bunny, Kasil Workshop Denim, London Fog, Kevia Jewelry, Casa Bugatti, Garnier-Thiebaut Bath Linens, Tretorn, Blackjack Jewelry, Robert Wayne, Holmes & Yang, Lanvin, Rebecca Minkoff, Yves Saint Laurent, TOD's, —join HERE
Rockport, Alâra, Palmiero Jewelry, Salvatore Ferragamo Watches, Cesare Paciotti, Callaway, BCBGeneration/MaxAzria —join HERE


More Zegna Coming Soon
For Uptown & Downtown

Following the most recent luxury retail pattern, the window pictured above tells us that Ermenegildo Zegna is about to join the growing pack of designers who are covering all the bases of New York luxury shopping with a flagship on Fifth Avenue and a second boutique on Madison. Zegna's first sattelite store is expected to open in a couple of months at 825 Madison Avenue right between Valentino and Dennis Basso just south of 69th street. It will obviously be a smaller affair that Zegna's brand palace on Fifth, but it will also place the brand among a cluster of sophisticated men's stores in the area including Luigi Borelli, Cesare Attolini, Lanvin and the return of Simon Spurr as the designer for the upcoming Kent & Curwen boutique. But that's not all. Zegna is also listed among the designers signed for stores in the financial district's Brookfield Place shopping center. Whether it will be a full-line Zegna store, or focus on the casual Zegna Sport or more fashion forward Z Zegna collections remains to be seen, but it is expected to open in about a year as Brookfield is slated to debut its re-imagining of the former World Financial Center by then.

What this all means is that the city will soon be wash in luxury shopping whether it is in long established shopping areas (Fifth, Madison Avenues), burgeoning enclaves (SoHo) or new, ambitious real-estate development driven complexes with promising demographics but no real heritage as concentrated carriage trade locations (Brookfield Place, World Trade Center and Hudson Yards). We will see how all this shakes out in a few years. Does Manhattan need so many different high-end retail neighborhoods, or have the city's wealthy tourists and residents been under-served all along by not having enough places to shop?


Gearing Up Before May Madness With A.P.C., Jay Godfrey, United Bamboo & More

In about a week, the Sample Sale schedule will blow up. May is the month when designers really start getting rid of overstock, but until then, there are still a few events worth catching this weekend. STEPHEN WEBSTER's rare and limited hour fine jewelry sale ends tomorrow afternoon, The 25th with a fast, four hour session. Also tomorrow only, UNITED BAMBOO has a one-day moving sale that should bring fans to its center street store one last time. Then, there are a few more sales with more accommodating hours for shoppers who like a more leisurely weekend...

French cult brand A.P.C. will be holding a special overstock sale in Boerum Hill with previous season merchandise. No word on whether or not it will include denim, but at up to 80% off, whatever they have should be well worth the F Train trip to Brooklyn. Starts on Friday the 25th.

Designer JAY GODFREY is offering 70% Off previous season collections for two days starting on the 25th in the Garment District.

Longtime New York indie designer favorites RUBIN & CHAPELLE will be offering up to 70% off their elegant collections all weekend in Chelsea

Furniture shoppers usually mark the calendar for LIGNE ROSET's floor sample sale which also begins on Friday the 25th. The discount is 60% off, and will also include overstock and discontinued items.

By next weekend, things will be heating up, and we should have a lot more listings in the SALE ROLL at left. Check for details on sales above and keep checking as we update with new announcements. Keep an eye out for Hanro, Zadig & Voltaire, ICB, Vivienne Tam & more next week


Rumors Now Have Saks
Heading To The Financial District

BrookfieldNews about stores heading to various locations underconstruction in the Financial Disrtrict is dominating this week's retail news. This time, it's Saks Fifth Avenue that is said to be close to signing a lease to anchor Brookfield Place's upcoming retail complex in what was formerly known as the World Financial Center on the West Side Highway (rendering at right). Though nothing has been confirmed, the rumor is featured in a front page article in WWD, which lends it more credibility than some other publications might be able to offer. The surprise here is that nobody thought there was enough room in the complex to accommodate the full-line Saks store that is expected to be announced. According to WWD, Saks would combine two separate spaces, of 20,000 and 25,000 square feet and possibly add more. If a full-sized Saks branch were to open downtown, it would make it the first major department store with two full locations in Manhattan if it can beat Barneys return to its original Chelsea home which is still a few years off. Bloomingdale's in SoHo, in contrast, is a specialty concept store that presents only select departments from its regular assortments, excluding the home collections and many apparel departments that are typically found in its branch stores.

This rumor is more convincing than some others because the chain's new owner, Hudson's Bay Company, is eager to exploit its new property, and its new president, Marigay McKee has been emphatic about building up Saks' luxury quotient. What better way way to showcase that than with a brand new, high profile store in New York City. That's not all the Saks has planned for the neighborhood, however. It is reportedly planning its first Off 5th outlet store east of Vesey Street that would compete directly with Century 21's recently expanded and upgraded flagship a few blcks across town. While the area has a long history of discount shopping, it is still unproved as the kind of luxury shopping area that is currently being built and aggressively marketed to potential tenants. Though it probably wouldn't be ready to open by next Spring when Brookfield Place's retail complex is expected to open with signed stores like Hermès, Ferragamo and Zegna, a powerhouse anchor like Saks could ultimately attract shoppers in a way that a collection of boutiques cannot, which would go a long way toward establishing the Financial District as a real (as opposed to potential) shopping destination. Expect to hear a lot more about Saks and other proposed arrivals to the area in the coming weeks.

Saks Fifth Avenue Eyeing Downtown Store Location (WWD)


UNIQLO Has Created A Michael Bastian Boutique In The SoHo Store

As we mentioned earlier, Michael Bastian's polo shirt collaboration with Uniqlo has made a welcome surprise return this Spring. A new shipment arrived in stores last week which brings the total style count in the line up to something around 60, so including new stripes and checks and some clever origami animal prints in a subtle tribute to the store's Japanese roots. At $22.90 each —which is less than a tenth of the cost of a comparable shirt from Bastian's main collection— it's pretty much a given that they are all The Shophound will be wearing this Summer. One would think that such a big collection would get the spotlight at Uniqlo's Fifth Avenue flagship, but that store is busy showing off new deliveries from the Inès de la Fressange collab and the SPRZ NY tee program with the Museum of Modern Art. While the line is available at all of the city's Uniqlo stores, it is the original SoHo location that has pulled out the stops for a big Michael Bastian boutique. For the moment, the store has devoted the featured section just off the main floor to the collaboration, and though the designer's participation is technically limited to designing the polo shirts, the quasi-boutique has also been stocked with a specially chosen group of shorts, trousers and other items to coordinate with the collection, extending Bastian's signature style to an assortment of total looks. With the designer's Gant collaboration ending after this Fall's line, Uniqlo may be the only place for Michael Bastian's fans to stock up on his look without succumbing to the daunting prices of his main collection. Even with 60 styles, the best ones sell out fast, so act quickly.

UNIQLO X Micharel Bastian (Official Site)