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How Saks Will Up Its 'Cool' Quotient With a Downtown Location

Briak Harkin
Briak Harkin

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New York is a tale of two cities. There's an uptown and a downtown. It's a bit like London," the British-born Saks Fifth Avenue president Marigay McKee explained to WWD. And if there's two cities, then each needs its own version of the department store. The forthcoming 85,000-square-foot Brookfield Place store, scheduled to open in spring 2016, "is more about being a concept store...and less about shops with big brand logos. It's more of a designer and contemporary edit."

And based on the local clientele—"a cooler, edgier crowd of people, more determined shoppers who don't have as much time" like young families, financial industry workers, and those in high income brackets moving into the luxury towers rising in the area—that concept will include a heavy push on shoes, denim, and menswear.

saks-shoes-downtown_2015_02

The shoe salon. Renderings: WWD

"It will be a very, very cool store with a good, better, best approach. Just because we're selling Fendi or Gucci doesn't mean we shouldn't be selling Longchamp as well, or Tumi leather," McKee told the paper. "It's one of those things where you've got to do low as well as going high."

Along with a product mix that will have a slight overlap with Brookfield Place's other high-end stores, Saks also plans to cater to the fast-paced downtown crowd with efficient shopping tools like in-store technology and express tailoring.

saks-fidi_2015_02

And while the Financial District's shopping scene is still rapidly evolving, McKee is confident that Saks is headed in the right direction. "We can only tell you what we feel, she said. "I've spent a lot of time looking at consumers, looking at the area. It's very interesting, new, uncharted territory. We need to buy for customers of tomorrow as well as customers of today."

Brookfield Place New York

200 Vesey St, New York, NY 10281 (212) 417-7000