Men’s Wear At Saks 5th Avenue Is Booming Because Of Strong Footwear, Advanced Designer Sales
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES — We’re still in the beginning or some say middle of a pandemic here in America but cannot stop the men’s momentum at American luxury department store Saks 5th Avenue.
Since 2018, the high-end retailer has been enjoying an uptick in men’s sales, thanks to strength in footwear, advanced designer and contemporary brands. From 2018 to 2019, the men’s division posted single-digit growth year-over-year, and those figures have gotten even larger this week and now represent some 30 percent of the company’s overall business, according to sources.
When the Saks stores were closed during the height of the pandemic, men’s managed to hold its own — thanks in large part to a solid online business — and now that the fleet has reopened, men’s continues to thrive.
Louis DiGiacomo, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s for Saks, said since stores started reopening in May, men’s experienced high single- to double-digit growth and now that the entire fleet is up and running, the category has been posting double-digit growth.
“Similar to pre-COVID-19, footwear has been our number-one category, driven by sneakers,” he said. “It was very strong before, but it’s even stronger now.”
Designer ready-to-wear and advanced contemporary collections along with accessories have also been very strong, he said.
“Our men’s business is booming,” said Marc Metrick, president and chief executive officer. “For the past several years, men’s has been a growing category for us across all channels and we have seen a consistently positive customer response. We’re continuing to invest heavily in men’s wear, which includes evolving our in-store presence, expanding our service offerings and leveraging our clienteling capabilities to deliver a personalized and seamless shopping experience. Saks is well-positioned for big wins in men’s and we look forward to continuing the momentum.”
Tracy Margolies, chief merchant, echoed the sentiment. “Men’s is such an exciting category right now. As the men’s market has grown over the past few years, we have focused on elevating our merchandise assortments and evolving our client experience by introducing more fashion-forward designers and personalized services. Saks believes in men’s fashion, and we are committed to offering the best curated assortment for our customers.”
DiGiacomo said that prior to the pandemic, the tailored businesses, along with other more-classic categories, were weakening, and as a result, Saks pivoted to place more emphasis on the fashion-forward brands.
“We talk about how men are the new women,” he said. “They want fashion. They’re shopping weekly and buying new wardrobes for the weekend or home. Frankly, we’re shocked at how much it has grown over the past few months.”
Among the strongest brands in footwear have been Dior, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga and Christian Louboutin, he said. In rtw, top performers include Amiri, Off-White and John Elliott, among others.
Looking ahead to fall, DiGiacomo said Saks is already seeing some good sell-throughs on new merchandise. And while there was a lag in deliveries in the midst of the pandemic when European vendors were closed and transportation interrupted, “we’re caught up now,” he said. “We’re receiving goods and selling newness“.
“We’re feeling really good about fall and holiday,” he added. “We’re continuing to invest in men’s.”
Last August, the New York flagship opened an 8,000-square-foot shoe floor that added 60 percent more selling space to the popular category. “That performed extremely well pre-COVID-19 and continues to perform well now,” DiGiacomo said.
DiGiacomo said that he and the men’s team are hoping to continue the momentum, shopping spring collections from home while travel still remains off-limits. And while it’s not ideal, they’re making it work.
“We miss the energy of being in Milan and Paris,” he said. “At presentations and shows, you can see the merchandise a little more clearly. But we’re still able to do market appointments virtually.”
What isn’t as easy is discovering new, artisanal brands. “Vendors are doing a good job showcasing their collections virtually, but we still want to touch and feel it, especially in ready-to-wear,” DiGiacomo said. “So there are some challenges, but it’s going well and we’re still very aggressively as a company looking for new brands and talent.”
Photos Credit: Courtesy