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Loehmann's Chelsea: 'The Specialty of Off-Price'

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The makeover at the Chelsea store. Image via Loehmann's.

In the modern era of off-price—where Daffy's and Filene's Basement have shuttered, and Nordstrom Rack expands with gusto—Loehmann's is finding new footing. The 92-year-old chain has filed for bankruptcy twice in a dozen years, but with a fresh CEO and a changed playing field, the discounter may stand a chance. A major restructuring of their Chelsea location hints at the larger plan.

"We were not customer-friendly. We were like, 'Come get your cheap clothes and run.' Now it's 'Come, shop us, stay a while, and if you want to sit down, here's a chair," chief executive Steven Newman told Crain's of the store's customer service efforts. Retraining staff and expanding the personal shopper program—a service unique to Loehmann's as far as discounters go—are additional steps the store is taking to become more shopper-focused.

Creating a boutique feel by shaking up store layouts, merchandising, and decor is the second layer of strategy for the revamp. Recently, the Chelsea location underwent changes that included flip-flopping the first and second levels to put fashion-forward merchandise front and center. Fitting rooms were also added to the main level, while the shoe salon was moved to the second floor and expanded—a retail trend we've seen from Macy's to Saks. On the racks, a merchandising effort that is guided by trend rather than designer name is shaping up, fronted by styled mannequins.
· Loehmann's Defies The Odds [Crain's]
· There's a Giant Nordstorm Rack Heading to Brooklyn [Racked NY]


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