Tag Archives: Stores

H&M is calling its newest brand “paradise” for discount treasure hunters

H&M’s newest brand collection will be on sale from the start. After the Swedish company’s plunge in profits for six years, the company announced that it will soon offer a new off-price marketplace called Afound.

H&M describes the new outlet as a “style- and deal-hunting paradise” that will begin selling discounted clothes and lifestyle items from H&M group’s own labels, which also include offshoots such as COS and Cheap Monday, as well as outside labels. The first Afound store will open up in Stockholm, Sweden in 2018, along with a new website.

H&M is entering a profitable category. According to Euromonitor, the global off-price market grew more than 30% between the years 2012 and 2017, going up to $62 billion. The U.S. owns the biggest share with 80% of the total.

Considering that big retailers such as Nordstrom have had much success in the discount business, H&M’s move is different from the mega brand because it is a fashion brand selling clothes from other brands.  H&M has yet to state what other brands will be sold alongside theirs or if they are planning on buying overstock and out-out-season items directly from the brands.

The company surely needs a boost of some kind to pick up its declining growth. H&M took too long to build its e-commerce and has realized it has way too many brick and mortar stores. It has also been outmatched in speed by digital competitors such as ASOS, BooHoo and longtime rival company Zara, thus leaving H&M stores filled with unwanted clothes.

Off-price retail, meanwhile, has shown an increasing attractiveness over the years. “Coincidentally enough, it looks very similar to the same reasons that people shop online too,” Tim Barrett, a retail analyst at market research provider Euromonitor, wrote.

Bruce Pask: his personal style and job

Bruce Pask is a name that should relatively ring a bell in the fashion industry, specifically in the menswear category. Pask was named the men’s fashion director at the New York store Bergdorf Goodman back in 2014. But before he got the job at Bergdorf Goodman, Pask worked as the men’s fashion director at T magazine and as an editor for GQ magazine before that. Before his professional career kicked off Pask worked for Gap and ESPRIT on summer breaks during college. A position that requires the employee to understand the best men’s clothing and accessories for years and requires them to spend a good amount of time on the floors of the three-floor store fits no one more perfectly than Pask.

“I work in the store and my office is a block away,” he says. “I’m here every day, I interact with customers every day. We have the most direct line to the customer by being here and being available.”

While Pask job on the floor in an impressive Manhattan shop on a daily basis may seem like a small task, Pask is known globally for his own personal style, most notably during the biannual men’s fashion show circuit. Pask is glorified for his ability to tweak and modify classic pieces just enough to make people turn their heads twice at him. Where most fashion icons are content with showing off the season’s flashiest, over the top designer pieces, Pask can make an ordinary look or piece seem like an unexpected gift for the fashion world.

Currently, Pask is obsessing over big pants. He said a few months ago he woke up and felt like he needs to wear what he referred to as “fashion pants”. “I woke up and was like, I need big pants,” he says. “I’m felt like that was what’s going to make me feel more jazzed about what I’m wearing.”

“It’s really broad in its interpretation,” he points out. “They can be denim, worsted wool, they can be flat-front, they can be pleated, they can be cropped, they can be long. I don’t care, I just want them big.”

While big pants may not be most men’s go to, for Pask, he backs up his statement by fitting them into his uniform. Pask combines the trousers, which are usually on a dark palette like navy, black, and gray, and adds them with a mix of menswear staples like turtleneck sweaters and heavily detailed outerwear.

The idea of wearing a uniform for me, I’m out the door in half an hour.” he says. “I don’t spend a ton of time thinking about it, that’s what the point of a uniform should be. It’s iterations. I’d rather spend time thinking about the store and our work than what I look like that day.”

In his new role, Pask has two concerns, those being shopping for himself, and shopping for his customers. “I’m very clear about what I like and what works for me. There’s a balance of a tailored piece with something casual so there’s this mixture of like slightly dressy in a casual presentation. There are a lot of things in the market that I see and that I love, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to buy it for myself.”

Being a men’s fashion director requires a good bit of time on the road to get the best of the best. Pask often travels with just a carry-on, but he does check a bag for month-long trips. Pask has hug himself deep in the menswear scene. Bergdorf as a store has taken the streetwear in with open arms as well.

“I think social media has had a huge influence on menswear, in that it has exposed the general population, certainly men who may not have had a big interest in fashion, has made this information so readily available. It’s sort of easy to look at and absorb it, distill what’s interesting. In general, the populous is much more informed,” he says.

While adding streetwear may make his job a bit harder, it definitely will make his life a whole lot more exciting. “I love being here and being in the store,” he says.

Walmart set to join the high-end fashion industry

Walmart will now be selling high-end fashion merchandise alongside their usual selection of abundant accessories. The mega retail chain now has a partnership with the department store Lord & Taylor. The partnership is said to “create a premium fashion destination on Walmart.com,” Denis Incandela said.  Incandela is head of fashion for Walmart’s US e-commerce business.

The idea is set for spring 2018 which will be a Lord & Taylor store on Walmart’s website and app that will give the Walmart online shoppers access to the labels sold by Lord & Taylor. As of now, the announcement did not say if they will be including all the items available by Lord & Taylor such as Vera Wang gowns, Kate Spade coats, Polo Ralph Lauren sweaters, Badgley Mishka dresses, and other expensive pieces.

“We see customers on our site searching for higher-end items, and we are expanding our business online to focus on adding specialized and premium shopping experiences, starting with fashion,” Incandela said in the announcement. This new plan will be a step away from the normal cheap clothes that are at Walmart.

Walmart has been trying to turn itself into an online fashion giant as part of the successful effort to grow their e-commerce business. Walmart is doing this to stay competitive with Amazon, which has been taking practically all of the US e-commerce, including clothing retail.

In just a year, Walmart has acquired online footwear seller ShoeBuy, outdoor brand Moosejaw, clothing retailer ModCloth, and menswear brand Bonobos.

The new Lord & Taylor deal will certainly help grow Walmart’s fashion business although it can be tough for a brand who is known for cheap and uncommon products to add high-end products, as shown by Amazon. Walmart already sells a good amount of designer labels on its site just like Amazon. Walmart does this to allow third-party sellers to reach Walmart’s large online audience.

The deal will also allow Lord & Taylor to reach even more shoppers. According to the announcement they can reach “exponentially more” shoppers than it currently does through their own website. Like many other department stores, it has seen its own sales fall as fewer and fewer people go to the mall and do more online shopping.  They have also seen their sales drop as more people are going towards fast fashion brand.

Lord & Taylor recently also sold off a large part of its historic New York City flagship store to WeWork. The store will keep its bottom floors, while WeWork will have the rest.

If this new partnership goes well there will certainly be even more partnerships to soon follow after.