Cole Haan Steps Up Factory-Store Style

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Cole Haan is rolling out a new factory-store concept that reflects the evolving nature of outlet centers. The store is designed to provide a more upscale shopping experience for customers.

“Outlet centers are becoming more and more like lifestyle centers,” said Cindi Kato, director, Callison, Seattle. “This new design helps elevate the Cole Haan brand among the upscale outlet retailers, allowing the company to increase sales and attract new customers in the luxury market.”

The new prototype, which ranges from 3,000 sq. ft. to 3,500 sq. ft., is designed along the same “modern beach-house” theme as Cole Haan’s first-quality stores. The outlet format has opened in several locations to date, including Philadelphia Premium Centers, Philadelphia (pictured here), and there are more units on the way. By the end of 2010, Cole Haan plans to open more than 18 stores in the new format and renovate its entire fleet of existing stores as well.

Callison worked closely with the retailer’s in-house design team on the project to create an experience that rings true to the brand.

“The new stores are streamlined, focused and clearly aligned with the Cole Haan brand,” said Mark Genest, VP of retail for Factory and First Quality stores, Cole Haan, Yarmouth, Maine, which has a total of 34 outlet locations. Cole Haan is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nike.

The updated environment has been a hit with customers, too. Average store sales have increased by more than 15% and the average per-customer transaction has increased by more than 30%, according to Callison.

“The new design has helped us exceed all financial goals for our outlet stores,” Genest added.

The prototype evokes a modern-design aesthetic. Interior features include natural-wood materials, chrome details, and a neutral color palette. A simple floor plan and open ceilings create a sleek look that enhances visibility and distinguishes product.

“The key to this concept is a clean design that allows for a focused presentation,” Kato explained.

The beach-house theme is enhanced by white finishes, benches with striping, wicker material and a sandstone porcelain-looking tile. Befitting the beach-house theme, the overall vibe is casual and relaxed.

The store features three distinct salons or departments: men’s, women’s and accessories. Elevated table displays and shelving units highlight the products for optimized visual merchandising and organization.

“We kept everything simple in terms of being able to set up visual-merchandising stories and highlight the merchandise,” Kato said. “All of the fixtures are custom. They are made of metal, painted with a plastic laminate and a composite stone material on the surfaces. They look high end, but they were designed simply so that a lot of the cost was taken out.”

Since the majority of the stock is on the floor, capacity was a key concern of the design team.

“We did a complete mock-up prior to the actual rollout to make sure that the capacity—as it was shown in our drawings—actually was there,” Kato explained.

There is a minimum of decor in the store, and virtually no signage (with the exception of the logo on an interior wall).

“Decor-wise, the design is quite streamlined,” Kato said. “We wanted things to look uncluttered.”

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