For all the talk of retail’s shrinking physical footprint, some nameplates continue growing their real-world reach.
Bloomingdale’s scales down
Bloomingdale’s announced plans to open a second, smaller-format Bloomie’s concept store in the Chicago area, following the launch of a Virginia location last year.
The 50,000-square-foot space will offer a curated assortment of casual and contemporary apparel, footwear and accessories. Opening at the Westfield Old Orchard in Skokie, Ill., the new Bloomie’s location will also introduce soft home textiles.
The opening will coincide with the closure of Bloomingdale’s Old Orchard location, which begins clearance sales on Sept. 6 before shutting down next month.
“We’re excited to be opening our second Bloomie’s location,” said Charles Anderson, director of stores. “The new concept remains authentic to the Bloomingdale’s brand yet reinterprets it on a smaller scale that is infused with energy and ripe for discovery.”
The first Bloomie’s location at Fairfax, Va.’s Mosaic Shopping Center offers an edited range of products refreshed weekly. The store carries premium and luxury items, as well as apparel and accessories from emerging designers.
The concept aims to provide convenience and accessibility—not unlike Nordstrom Local’s small-format service hubs. Bloomie’s associates can help consumers place orders for products not available in store, and process returns from all of the department store’s sales channels. Shoppers can also request in-house alteration and tailoring services.
GU pops up
Japanese men’s and women’s lifestyle brand GU—a lower-priced sister brand to Uniqlo—plans to open a U.S. store this fall.
The Fast Retailing subsidiary will open its first stateside store in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, it announced last month. The popup will feature a hand-picked assortment of apparel and accessories tailored to U.S. shoppers.
Calling the opening a “great honor” for the brand, CEO Osamu Yunoki said that GU chose New York because it’s a city “where people with diverse backgrounds come together from around the world… where fashion, art, music, and other varied cultural elements intersect.”
“By opening a popup shop in the center of SoHo, we will be able to reach a wide range of customers, including New York residents as well as tourists,” Yunoki added.
The brand’s slogan, “Your Freedom,” is meant to convey the importance of individuality and expression, and its name, “GU,” is phonetically similar to the Japanese word jiyu, which means freedom. Fast Retailing launched the brand in 2006, and it now has 450 locations across Asia.
Academy Sports + Outdoors expands
Throughout the summer, the Texas sporting goods and outdoor retailer has opened new locations in the Southeast, including stores in Panama City, Fla., Richmond, Va., and Atlanta. The retailer, which operates 262 stores across 16 states, said it plans to open nine stores this year, and up to 100 stores over the next five years.
Academy’s 55,000-square-foot Panama City location opened its doors in late July. As one of the three stores planned for Florida, it is expected to bring a total of 60 new jobs to the area. Meanwhile, the 58,000-square-foot Richmond location, which opened on Aug. 16, represents the company’s first store in Virginia.
A new store at Atlanta’s Perimeter Square Shopping Center is the twelfth location in the city and the twentieth in Georgia. Academy hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony with professional baseball player Peter Moylan, football player Aaron Murray, and WNBA basketball star Monique Billings. “Atlanta is a hub for outdoor life, active families, and home to passionate sports fans,” said executive vice president of retail operations Sam Johnson, who believes the area offers significant opportunity for the brand.
Academy, which carries brands including Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, Columbia, Coleman and The North Face, also sells a variety of private labels. Earlier this month, Academy’s Magellan Outdoors brand teamed with Shiner Beer on a co-branded collection of T-shirts, fishing shirts, hats, coolers, koozies, games, grill accessories, and camp gear. The line, which ranges in price from $5 to $300 for a keg-shaped charcoal grill, was designed for activities like fishing, camping and tailgating.
The introductory capsule “offers unique assortments and creative designs to capture the fun of getting outdoors,” Academy senior vice president of marketing Lawrence Lobpries said.
Shiner’s head of marketing, Matt Pechman, said that the Magellan Outdoors’ “co-branded merch and functional gear will inspire our fans to get outside and make their next outdoor adventure one to remember.” Shiner, Texas’ 113-year-old Spoetzl Brewery is one of the largest craft beer brewers in the U.S. The limited-edition collaborative line is available across Academy’s national retail locations as well as its e-commerce site.
The retailer, which will report its Q2 earnings Wednesday, is speeding up its store-opening strategy. The Conyers, Ga. store that opened in the spring performed stronger in its first two weeks than any new opening in the company’s history. West Virginia and Kentucky are on deck to get new locations this year.
CEO Ken Hicks said Academy Sports has invested in compelling visuals, key category shops, more efficient checkout and more localized inventory at the new stores. While Academy’s e-commerce sales grew more than 300 percent during the pandemic over 2019, physical retail remains a critical component of its roadmap. “Both the number of markets we serve and our overall brand awareness continue to increase as we open new stores, which will ultimately drive more omnichannel business,” executive vice president and chief financial officer Michael Mullican said in June.
“The success of our first new store opening in several years gives us great confidence as we enter an accelerated days of store growth,” he added.
Von Maur explores new market
Von Maur has announced plans to open its first Pennsylvania store in 2024.
The 150-year-old department store purchased a former Sears store at South Hills Village in Pittsburgh, and is renovating the 118,000-square-foot space to feature a brick façade, open floor plan, original art and a space for its trademark grand piano. The store is expected to employ more than 100 full-time associates, Von Maur said. It will carry brands including Bobbi Brown, Peter Millar, TravisMathew, Hammitt, Lilly Pulitzer, John Hardy and Vuori.
Company president Jim von Maur said the shopping center’s mix of dining, entertainment and retail make it an attractive destination for the Iowa-based company’s first Pennsylvania outpost. “While our upcoming opening may be the first time customers have heard about or experienced Von Maur, they’ll discover that we’re all about delivering the best customer service and brand name merchandise in the industry,” he said. “We are looking forward to becoming a part of the Pittsburgh community and showcasing a unique shopping environment for our customers for years to come.”
The planned opening is a part of the company’s goal to reach new U.S. markets. Von Maur currently operates 36 stores in 15 states, including Georgia, New York, Alabama and Oklahoma. This spring, the company opened its fourth Michigan store, with a second Wisconsin location planned to open in October.
Faherty’s new frontier
New York’s Faherty is expanding to Canada with distributor TC2. The agreement will see Faherty’s men’s assortment featured at Nordstrom stores in Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary.
The move represents the family-owned brand’s first foray outside of the U.S., and the expansion is a part of Faherty’s larger goal of growing its brick-and-mortar and wholesale footprint. The brand currently operates 40 stateside stores and manages 350 wholesale accounts, including Nordstrom stores in the U.S.
“We’ve already seen success with our international shipping and we’re so excited to be bringing our products directly to the Canadian consumer through our partnership with Nordstrom,” co-founding CEO Alex Faherty said. “We’re committed to growing our retail identity and the expansion into Canada and the international space felt like the best step forward.”
Faherty’s menswear styles will be available at six Nordstrom stores in Calgary, Ottowa, Vancouver, Toronto and Etobicoke starting Sept. 6.
Luxury handbag resale platform Rebag debuted its third Florida location with the Sept. 1 opening of a store at the Sawgrass Mills outlets in Sunrise, Fla. The new brick-and-mortar adds to Rebag’s footprint in the southern state, which is home to stores in Kendall’s Dadeland Mall as well as Miami.
“We are thrilled to further expand our retail presence in Florida, offering a new set of consumers our unique luxury shopping experience,” said Charles Gorra, founder and CEO of Rebag, which recently got into the clothing and footwear business. “South Florida tourists and locals alike will enjoy an elevated in-store shopping experience that fuses transparency and flexibility with personalized services.”
Rebag operates stores in California, Connecticut, Florida and New York in addition to a website and mobile app where consumers can learn how to sell pre-owned designer product including small leather goods, watches and jewelry, in addition to handbags, shoes and apparel.