We have been reading discouraging news from retail stores recently. Macy’s announced that they will be closing a number of stores, the Neiman Marcus group which includes Bergdorf Goodman, posted a 71.6% decline in second fiscal-quarter sales over a year ago. Not good news. Saks parent company Hudson’sBay Company, however, posted strong fourth-quarter earnings more than double those of a year ago. Saks strategy of adding new designers to bring a fresh note to their designer options seems to be working.
This year Saks invited new, unknown designers to participate in a competition where each one submitted a sampling of their collections hoping to be chosen in the fall
line-up. Three hundred designers participated and through a process of elimination, two lucky new labels were chosen. Saks director of merchandising, Tracy Margoies, wants to add creative, new designs that have not appeared in large stores. Saks will mentor the designers with the hopes that these designers fresh, new looks will add exciting buzz to their next collection.
Vetta, a new label designed by Cara Bartlett and Vanessa van Zyl, offer five neutral pieces that can be interchanged to make 30 outfits. Roberta Einer, from London has a colorful “Barbie Doll” collection. The collections each have a different, youthful vibe that will hopefully draw in new shoppers. Based on comparative sales, Saks strategy seems to be working so far.
Another advantage of unknown labels, their prices are much more affordable than popular, established labels such as Armani, Akris or St. Johns. It is also exciting to see young talents be chosen to be mentored by the best. How fun to get to watch them soar!