Saks To Unveil New Concept Store — The Fifth Man
By Sam Lewis
New men’s store will take over two floors in company’s Chicago flagship store
Luxury retailer Saks has had quite a busy 2013. Late July brought the company to a new owner, Canada’s Hudson’s Bay. Mid-September brought forth the resignations of both the company’s president and its CEO. At the end of September, the company launched its much anticipated, three years in the making, $95 million overhaul of Saks OFF Fifth e-commerce presence. Now, in mid-October, Saks has announced more big plans.
“The Saks Fifth Avenue Man,” or simply “The Fifth Man,” is a new concept store Saks has developed in collaboration with luxury retail designers Jeffrey Hutchinson and Associates. This new store will make its debut in January of next year in Saks’ flagship Chicago store, located on Michigan Avenue. The company has laid out plans to overhaul the store’s sixth and seventh floors, with the renovations bringing a fresh, new look and idea to the company’s menswear.
The new concept store will feature nine floor-to-ceiling glass display cases on both floors, showcasing luxury item collections. Both floors will also be inspired by an “at home feel” with changing art displays, high-end amenities, oak flooring, and modern architecture, along with both classic and contemporary furniture. Floor six will have the classic club environment, inspired by the Library of Congress rotunda, featuring oak walls with coverings and carvings inspired by men’s clothing. Additionally, it will feature the latest collections from luxury brands, along with Saks’ own collection of exclusive items and The Fifth Man’s shoe collection, alongside the expanded shoe shop with an open ceiling, uniting the sixth and seventh floors.
On floor seven, customers will be greeted by a contemporary environment drawing inspiration from Chicago architects like Mies Van der Rohe and Gordon Bunshaft. The aesthetics of the seventh floor will look almost industrial, featuring steel, greyed oak, and wall coverings inspired from the machine age. The merchandise on floor seven will feature designer sportswear and new denim offerings. “Saks is thrilled to offer our customers exciting new lifestyle shopping experiences all under one roof,” says Tom Ott, senior VP and general merchandise manager for men’s, home, and gifts at Saks Fifth Avenue. “The greatly expanded men’s shoe salon, the deeper focus on designer and denim, and the open shopping environment are sure to make Chicago’s Fifth Man a unique shopping destination.”
The Fifth Man will also host Saks’ restaurant and bar, “Sophie’s at Saks Fifth Avenue,” inspired by designer Sophie Gimbel, who was a style icon with Saks for almost 40 years. The menu, created by Spanish-born Alexandro Reyes, will offer diners food and beverages from around the globe, while retaining American traits as to not alienate less experimental eaters.
It seems Saks’ new concept store has all the bases covered. The store aims to please men not only interested in luxury merchandise, but aiming for a distinctive lifestyle. This approach will keep the hearts of loyal shoppers, and most likely win the hearts of some new ones. The addition of a restaurant is also a bonus, as it will draw a crowd all on its own, along with shoppers who have built an appetite from exploring the new store. In fact, Saks already has plans to open a second Sophie’s restaurant in its New York flagship store in summer of 2014, with Sarasota, FL, and San Juan, PR to follow after. It will be interesting to see how the new approach to not only retail, but lifestyle, will pan out for a company that has already seen many changes in 2013.
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