Where Will Gant Move Its Fifth Avenue Flagship As Blancpain Moves In?

Without being too cynical, it now seems inevitable that heritage sportswear brand Gant would have had to move its Fifth Avenue flagship store at some point. The 2,500 square foot store on three levels has provided a fairly lavish showcase for the brand that has grown significantly over the past few years thanks to its younger Gant Rugger line and Gant by Michael Bastian collaboration label, but, as Fifth Avenue rents on the prized stretch between 48th and 58th Streets have soared as high as $3,000 per square foot, the Olympic Tower store nestled between Versace and H.Stern has obviously become just a bit too rich for the still evolving sportswear brand. Not surprisingly, Blancpain, the celebrated Swiss luxury watchmaker is taking over the space which Gant exited at the end of last month. Lingering window signs direct customers to the smaller Gant Rugger shops in NoLiTa, Greenwich Village, Williamsburg and Cobble Hill and promise that the flagship store is relocating, but where exactly?.

For the moment, the brand is without a single store that collects the Rugger, Bastian and main Gant collections for men and women under one roof. The company is undergoing a bit of a transition this year as the final Gant by Michael Bastian collection will ship for Fall 2014, and Rugger designer Christopher Bastin has taken over creative responsibilities for the entire Gant brand. This should mean fewer logos and a more stylish point of view for the formerly staid main collection which is finally being wholesaled to American retailers like Nordstrom this year. It seems unlikely that a suitable space will present itself on Fifth Avenue in pricey midtown, so where might Gant's new flagship land? It seems like downtown might be the direction to look in. SoHo will have a similar appeal to tourists, or perhaps the brand will venture to the Meatpacking District which is transitioning from high end designer stores to more broadly based retailers. The Flatiron district has its appeal as well, and with Banana Republic relinquishing two sizable stores there to consolidate in a former Barnes & Noble space, for example, there might be some choices in that neighborhood that could keep Gant on Fifth Avenue, just in a different section. Hopefully, there will be an announcement soon, so stay tuned.



Notes On The Gant Warehouse Sale

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There was a perfectly manageable number of people waiting at 260 Fifth Avenue to get into the Gant Warehouse Sale at 9 AM today, especially considering that it was a once again frigid February morning. This is the second big Gant sale this season, and the first time the brand has staged a post-season warehouse sale. If you are a non sample size Gant fan, this is the sale you have been waiting for. There is a fairly even distribution of the Gant, Gant Rugger and Gant by Michael Bastian labels, and, for now, sizes range from XS to XXL —though there appeared to be more selection in the smaller sizes. It appears that the merchandise is mostly from the Fall 2013 collections, and much of it looks like it came from the Gant and Gant Rugger stores which have ended their clearance sales. Unlike the Gant sample sales we are accustomed to, the prices are not by category, but a simple 70% off the retail price tags, so bring a calculator. This may make the prices come in just a bit higher than at the sample sales of past seasons, but, for the most part, it's still a great value (that means that, for example, the signature Gant by Michael Bastian skinny cargo pants are $67.50 down from $225). The set-up is also more open, with only single level racks arranged by size (as seen in the gallery above). There was a substantial shoe table, and a fairly small women's section in the back. 

The sale lasts through Sunday, so we expect that there will have to be some replenishment throughout the week. Will there be further reductions? Nobody was promising anything, but we would be surprised if it didn't go to 75% or maybe 80% before the end of the weekend if you want to wait it out. Overall, for those who were disappointed by the limited selection at last Fall's Sample Sale, it's worth stopping by, especially if there are any special items you have had your eye on.

See our SALE ROLL at left for more details and other breaking sale listings.


Sales See A Spark Of Life Next Week
With Diptyque & Gant's Warehouse Sale

Image004It has been a quiet time in the Sample Sale Cycle around the city, with a few events here and there, but not the kind of concentrated activity we had been seeing previously. That's about to change starting today, and ramping up next week with a couple of tried and true crowd pleasers. PATRIK ERVELL's seasonal sale started today in SoHo with 90% savings on his Fall collections, and RALPH LAUREN's highly anticipated Home Collection sale also kicked off. Both will keep shoppers busy over the weekend, but it's Monday when local favorite GANT makes an unusual Winter appearance with its first Warehouse Sale. Those of us who have been accustomed to Gant's abundant (and cheap) sample sales were a bit disappointed last Fall when the regular sale was reduced in size and mostly limited to actual samples. It was a bit of a bummer for those non-sample sized shoppers, but our friends at Gant are making up for it starting next Monday with their first ever Warehouse Sale that moves it back to the big room  at 260 Fifth Avenue for a solid week. They are promising 70% off the most recent Fall collections from the regular collection, Gant Rugger and Gant by Michael Bastian collections including the MB leather jacket pictured here which is being reduced from $1250 to $375. It look like a great opportunity to stock up on Bastian's signature skinny cargo pants (also pictured) especially since next Fall will bring his final Gant collaboration collection.

Wait until Wednesday, and you will get a chance to wait in a famously long line to get into the DIPTYQUE Sale at 225 Fifth. There is an ever increasing number of New Yorkers who will go to all kinds of lengths for a discount on scented candles and other fragrance items from the exclusive brand, so plan carefully and leave a lot of waiting time in your schedule.

See details for all these sales and anything else that pops up in our SALE ROLL at left.


2014 Previews From Capsule
featuring Eastland, Yuketen, Gant
& Teva?

The Shophound took our seasonal jaunt through the Capsule trade show yesterday, and though basketball City's unfortunate lack of sufficient climate control kept us from taking a more detailed look at every single booth, there were a few things that leaped out at us as we passed by —mostly shoes, as usual.

One of the first booths we visited was Eastland, where their premium Made In Maine collection continues to offer clever variations on their classic handsewn moccasin styles. New for next Spring is more from a continuing collaboration with popular street style photoblogger Mister Mort who has created a striking mash-up of particularly vibrant Horween leathers. They sit nicely next to Eastland's collaboration with Mark McNairy which features the designer's signature camo-combinations. Over at Yuketen, where we can count CapsuleSS14-Yuketenon designer Yuki Matsuda's unexpeted combinations and daring patterned leathers, we noticed a shelf of simple, classic Italian snaffle loafers in offbeat colors (at right) which suggests that next year's loafer will have the kind of bit across the vamp that Gucci made popular, but with a twist. Eastland has a 2-tone version with a rubber boat shoe sole that'll also be worth saving up for.

Also making an impression were Florsheim by Duckie Brown's metallic silver cap-toes details on several styles and the unlikely return of the Teva sandal.
Yes, the much maligned TEVA.
The folks at Teva will tell you they never went away, but they are about to undergo a re-appraisal as it is about to celebrate its 30th anniversary with a relaunch its original iconic styles in bright new colors that look fresh. You'll be seeing more of them, and you may be surprised how much you like them.

Elsewhere in non-footwear, we saw all of Gant's collections including Michael Bastian's line, the Gant Rugger line and the main Gant collection which is now under the creative direction of Rugger designer Christopher Bastin and will now be available at other stores besides the brand's own boutiques. Bastin has subtly updated and modernized the classic collection and eliminated some of the prominent logos while adding investment pieces like a leather bomber jacket that would make Indiana Jones proud.


The Gant Sample Sale Is Back

One of the city's most agreeably reliable sample sales starts today. The Shophound got a preview of the Gant sample sale yesterday afternoon. Like an old friend you see twice a year, the label's reliably preppy basics were on display as expected, though perhaps a bit sparser than in past seasons. Nevertheless, regulars will be pleased. Things were calm and organized at yesterday's VIP preview, though we managed to get out before the expected after-work rush.

As usual, the sale included the regular Gant label as well as Gant Rugger and Gant by Michael Bastian. The company has an enormous sample line, which is where most of the stock comes from, so there are few multiples, and selections vary from size to size. While there is women's apparel available, it is limited to a few racks in the back. essentially this is a men's sale, and nearly all the sportswear items are priced below $50, so it's one of the best priced sample sales around, and fans are known to tote home armloads of clothes at a fraction of their original retail prices. The best bets for most tops are in size Medium, though there is merchandise in most sizes. Trousers went from 28 to 38, and other categories followed a similarly inclusive size range. While, in the past, there have been only size Medium samples available in the most popular Bastian and Rugger labels, this season there was a bit more overstock from past seasons as well as the Pre-Spring 2013 line that is still in stores now -including an abundance of Bastian down vests and pants like the kelly green chinos and the signature skinny cargo in navy camo print (we snagged a pair even though we are on camouflage rehab). How long they will last is anybody's guess, but the sale is running for a whopping six days through this Sunday, so there must still be some backstock. An extra plus- no cheap brown paper bags. Every customer got their purchases in a nice navy blue Gant shopping bag.

Perhaps the best bargain was in accessories which featured rugged duffles and totes originally priced over $1,000 selling for less than $100. A small selection of shoes was priced at a mere $27 a pair. Check out our gallery below for the basic price list and a glimpse at what you can expect to find at the sale this week

Gant Sample Sale through May 19 at 260 Fifth Avenue between 28th & 29th Street, Flatiron District
See SALE ROLL at left for details

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