REAL ESTATE

Saks Off 5th announces five additional locations for 2012

BY Staff Writer

New York City — Saks Inc.’s Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th announced the addition of five stores for 2012. The new stores will be located in upscale outlet, lifestyle, or strip centers.

The new locations are in Merrimack, N.H., Syracuse, N.Y., Livermore, Calif., Grand Prairie, Texas, and Nashville. The Merrimack store will be the first Off 5th in New Hampshire, and the store in Nashville will be a replacement store for the one lost in the 2010 flood in Tennessee.

"There are numerous opportunities for new Off 5th stores throughout the country. We will carefully weigh our options and open in select new markets that we believe have the greatest demand for our distinct merchandise offerings. The further expansion of Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th is an exciting step for us," said Robert Wallstrom, president of Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th.

Saks recently opened new Off 5th stores in Kansas City, Kan., and Oklahoma City, and plans to open stores in Charleston, S.C., Northbrook, Ill., and Sugar Land, Texas (replacement store) later this year.

The stores will feature an open air loft-like environment and will range from 25,000 sq. ft. to 28,000 sq. ft. The layout offers maximized efficiency and flexibility, enabling easy change. The space will be bright, uncluttered with no hard aisles. All fixtures will be on casters, ensuring easy movement and all hardware will be interchangeable between fixtures. Since its debut in 2008, this innovative store design has been well received and set a new standard in off price shopping.

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REAL ESTATE

Banana Republic flagship to debut in Paris in December

BY Katherine Boccaccio

San Francisco — Gap announced Monday that it will open its first Banana Republic store in France in Paris in early December. The 15,952-sq.-ft. store will be located on Avenue des Champs Élysées, one of the most popular international shopping destinations in the world.

“Following the success of our London and Milan openings, we are delighted to bring Banana Republic to Paris and take another exciting step in our international growth strategy,” said Stephen Sunnucks, president, International, Gap.

The new store features architecture and materials inspired by the heritage of France but with connections back to America with an exhibition of iconic imagery curated by Michael Hoppen. Many of the building’s original architectural details have been retained and updated; the contemporary white and black diamond marble floors combined with limestone, sweeping marble feature staircase and an old era style lift accessing the main shopping area lit by a Charles Edwards chandelier. French Art Deco antiques, curved ebony paneling and black enamel detailing create the feeling of a residential environment while a series of neoclassical arches and vaults evoke a shopping promenade.

Last year, the company opened its first Banana Republic store in Italy in Milan. In 2010, the company also made Banana Republic products available to European customers online by launching a dedicated e-commerce site.

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REAL ESTATE

New Balance Experience store makes U.S. debut

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — New Balance has opened its first North American Experience Store, in New York City’s Flatiron District. The approximate 4,000-sq.-ft. space is designed to reflect the heritage and spirit of the century-old brand.

The decor features restored original brick walls and floor-to-ceiling columns and pays homage to New Balance’s signature grey while introducing modern day technology-based offerings amidst an evolved red and grey color scheme and vibrant product photography. A two-lane Mondo track runs along one of the store’s perimeter walls and features a sunken-in treadmill for gait/form analysis. A 24-hour projection texture mapping showcases product images and brand videos, as well as real time brand content in four distinct areas of the store.

The store emphasizes the company’s commitment to domestic manufacturing (New Balance is the only athletic brand to continue to manufacture shoes in the United States). Behind a glass-enclosed upfront space, a New Balance associate from the company’s Skowhegan, Maine, manufacturing facility will assemble the No. 880 running shoe. Each pair will be sold in a special ‘Assembled in NYC’ drawstring bag stamped with the date made and edition number. The store will also host a live video feed from the company’s Lawrence, Mass., manufacturing floor during work hours.

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