Target expects its first Manhattan store at East River Plaza, which opens Sunday to conservatively do $60 million to $70 million in annual sales, but is hoping for a volume of $100 million to $115 million, according to sources. The 110,000-square-foot store marks a big step for the $63.5 billion Target after years of searching for a site in New York City. “East River Plaza provides for single-level layouts for the retailers,” said Peter Ripka, a partner in Ripco Real Estate and the project’s leasing agent. “It’s more akin to [Target’s] suburban operations and very familiar to their customers.” It may be difficult for Target to find single floor space in Manhattan for its next store. “[Target] has turned the spigot on again and is now actively looking in Manhattan,” said a source close to the company. “They’re considering some things along the West Side. It may depend on how the [Harlem] store comes out of the box. Target’s Atlantic Terminal store in Brooklyn was a huge success and is consistently one of the top-performing stores in the chain. A lot of customers are going there from lower Manhattan. You can bet Target is going to study where the Harlem store’s shoppers are coming from.” Target already knows that many of its future customers live in the neighborhood. The store appeals to those multiethnic residents with signage in English and Spanish and graphics featuring African-American, Hispanic and white models. “The East Harlem Target is unique to the area due to its urban setting,” said Trish Adams, senior vice president of Target. “The merchandise has been tailored based on shopping patterns and the demographics of the neighborhood. We’ll offer an edited assortment overall, with more space devoted to commodities, basics for the home and items for apartment dwellers such as storage solutions and air beds.” Target’s latest salvo in the price wars, announced Wednesday, is Back in Black Friday. The online event Friday is a play on promotions that usually occur on the day after Thanksgiving. For women, offers will include Zebra rain boots, $15, a 40 percent savings; Mossimo maxidresses, $21.99, buy one, get one free, and a Soap and Glory set for $7.99, a 47 percent savings. read more
Luxury spending is on the rise, but apparel isn’t feeling the love. The country’s richest consumers will drive luxury spending up between 6 and 8 percent this year, according to a survey of affluent Americans conducted by American Express Publishing Corp. and Harrison Group, but apparel is unlikely to benefit. Apparel spending by these consumers has recovered somewhat, but continues to slide, falling 5 percent in the first quarter and 4 percent in the second quarter. By comparison, apparel spending by this group slid 8 percent during the fourth quarter of 2008 and 9 percent in the first quarter of last year. Overall spending by the most affluent 10 percent of the U.S. population is expected to surge $56 billion this year versus 2009, and half that amount is expected to go toward the purchase of luxury products. Harrison Group vice chairman Jim Taylor told WWD at a Luxury Marketing Council presentation in New York Wednesday that apparel spending is generally discretionary and not a necessity. “It has become an event-driven business,” he said. “Still, I think it will be a pretty good Christmas.” The survey polled 1,910 respondents from households with incomes representing the top 10 percent of the American population. These consumers collectively account for 50 percent of all retail sales and 70 percent of all retail margins. This group also holds about 80 percent of all non-retirement account assets. read more
Online fashion shopping sites like Gilt Groupe and Rue La La have been a hit with women since launching over the last three years. A new push to get men to shop in these web boutiques is proving more difficult. As they struggle to figure out ways to reel in male shoppers, the sites are throwing all sorts of things at the wall to see what sticks, including offering sporting gear and gadgets (a high-end ax, anyone?) and making virtual men-only shopping areas so guys won't have to scroll through women's fashions. Gilt Groupe, a two-year-old site that holds limited-time only "flash" discount sales of designer merchandise, added sports gear such as golf clubs and surfboards last fall when it introduced a separate site for guys. Ideeli, a three-year-old flash-sales site, plans to add a men's section with clothing plus sporting goods, gadgets and packaged travel outings aimed at men. Meanwhile, high-end fashion retailer Net-A-Porter announced in June that it would launch Mr. Porter, a dedicated men's-only site, next January. Rue La La, which launched in 2008, plans to "quadruple" the amount of men's brands it carries this year, says CEO Ben Fischman. Though these sites are familiar to many women, they are hardly household names among men. Women make up 75% of Gilt's 2.5 million members, and the numbers are similar for its rivals: women represent 90% of HauteLook's 2.7 million members and 70% of the 1.8 million members at Rue La La. When BIGresearch asked a little more than 8,000 men to write down which sites they shopped for clothes most often, among the top 10 were Amazon, Wal-Mart, eBay, Macy's and Lands' End. Gilt, HauteLook, and Rue La La weren't mentioned. And in general, men's online spending trails women's—$4.3 billion compared with $9.6 billion during the 12-month period that ended in April, according to market researcher NPD Group.
So why bother with guy shoppers? Because when it comes to the upper income consumers that these sites target, men may buy less than women, but they spend more. Affluent men, those with income levels in the top 20% of U.S. households, spent an average of $3,970 on Internet purchases during the fourth quarter of 2009 compared with $1,958 for women, according to Unity Marketing. read more
This week's amusing fashion news story brings bad tidings for Elisabetta Gucci, who is being sued by the Gucci Group for, essentially, being called Gucci. She is the great-grandaughter of Gucci founder Guccio Gucci, so it's not like she isn't one of those Guccis, plus she worked for the Gucci Group until 1995, but now she has had the temerity to plan a group of hotels which will be called Elisabetta Gucci Hotels. Shall we rearrange the words "freaks" and "control"? Has anyone ever used the word Gucci so many times in one paragraph before? Questions, questions. The Gucci Group told WWD "Gucci wants to make clear that it has no relationship to Elisabetta Gucci Hotels and that it is not involved in any project whatsoever with Elisabetta Gucci Hotels." FS is beginning to feel rather sorry for her now. Her managing director (of the hotels, we assume, not her personally) retorted that "Elisabetta Gucci is doing her job. She cannot cancel her name or her background. If she has a famous name or a famous background, that's not her fault and we are not trying to use it as much." FS finds itself rather intrigued by that last word. Simple misquote? Or Freudian slip? As much as what - or should we ask, whom? Elisabetta should probably consider herself lucky to be facing a mere lawsuit, for the Gucci family have a notorious history of feuds, fights and somewhat darker affairs. Paolo Gucci was once the chief designer at the company, and the man who created the famous double 'G' logo. But he kept up a long-running trademark battle with the company after they fired him over his management practices. His father Aldo tried to stop him, so Paolo shopped him for tax evasion, which led to a prison sentence. Oh, and Paolo was imprisoned himself for failling to pay child support. Later, one of Paolo's daughters and his ex-wife were also taken to court and banned from using the family name on the grounds that doing so "infringed and diluted" the Gucci trademark. All this, however, is positively friendly by Gucci standards. Back in 1998 Patrizia Reggiani was jailed for 26 years for arranging the murder of her estranged husband, Maurizio Gucci. When investigating the crime, Italian police found her diary, in which she had written ''There is no crime that money cannot buy" - and, on the day he was shot, the single word entry read "paradise". That, FS friends, is what's known as a bit of a clue. Ridley Scott is now rumoured to be making a film of this delightful episode. Who can he have in mind for the role of Patrizia, a woman who once claimed "I would rather weep in a Rolls-Royce than be happy on a bicycle?" And surely Tom Ford - once Gucci creative director and now feted film maker - would be the perfect director? read more