Sneakers are 60% to 65% of Saks Fifth Avenue’s men’s business. Come July, the NYC flagship store will combine men’s shoes on one floor as the luxury department store attempts to rebalance its formal and casual assortment.
“We’ve been going after sneakers. That’s been an explosive category. And now we’re in a moment where we’re going to start to rebalance our assortment,” said Louis DiGiacomo, svp and men’s general merchandising manager at Saks Fifth Avenue. “We think there’s more opportunity for dress and dress casual styles, beyond having designer sneakers and just going after one category. We want to serve every guy, every single day. It’s a bit different from where we were in the past. We’ll have all the designer brands, but we want to expand our offering.”
DiGiacomo joins Jill Manoff on the buyer edition of Glossy Trend Watch to discuss the biggest shifts in men’s fashion and the renovation of the men’s shoe department in Saks’ New York flagship. Edited highlights below.
Inter-department collaboration is key
“[Before], you just went to market, bought the product, spoke to the store about your vision, and that was it. Now, you have to partner with all the other teams to execute the vision and strategy. We also have to talk to stores to understand each store’s client, because we buy locally. For example, all of our Florida stores buy differently. You’re involved in marketing, planning, allocation. The role of a buyer is to use these tools they’re given to analyze the best-selling product through data and to partner with all departments in the company to build a cohesive brand statement.”
Custom-made shoes are the next opportunity
“In particular with footwear, we’re going after this made-to-order segment. It’s very big in tailoring and suiting, but there’s a huge opportunity in footwear. It’s time to offer this, especially in dress shoes. There’s the ability to service that client with specialized footwear to match back to his suit.”
The seasonal calendar has changed
“There are many more [market] appointments. Many brands are showing multiple times a season, versus two times a season. Some show three or four times and offering drops, and they’re showing special deliveries during shows. Our buyers go back and forth to Europe numerous times a season, because brands are doing a lot more deliveries. It’s very exciting because we can offer newness to our customer every single month. We’re seeing our male consumer shop two to four times a month. It’s been one of the biggest shifts in the men’s market, outside of the casualization.”
The department store is evolving
“We’ll be opening our shoe floor in mid-late July. It’s the first phase of the grand renovation in men’s. It will be unique in terms of where we are, and it will set us apart from the competition. Right now, if you want to buy designer shoes or sneakers, you go to one floor. If you want a classic and dress shoe, it’s another floor. But we’re bringing it all together on the center of the sixth floor. Luxury is more about experience than price. In the past, we talked about it being a certain price point.”