New Michael Kors boutique reinforces New Orleans’ emergence as a retail hot spot
Danni Winger had a visceral reaction when she spotted the new store that opened last weekend at The Shops at Canal Place. nearly sh pandora charms uk rieked when I saw it, said Winger, 24, a professional dancer and self described full time fashionista.
RUSTY COSTANZA / THE TIMES PICAYUNESales supervisor Ally Dunah, left, helps Anna Raymond, right, of Baton Rouge and Raymond’s mother, Shannon Raymond, center, pick out a watch at the new Michael Kors store at The Shops at Canal Place on Dec. 10.
Coming out of the new Michael Kors boutique, Winger looked over to the shiny windows fronting the white, cube shaped shop. one of my favorite designers. I follow him on Runway, and I order from him online all the time. I have that bag, the one with pandora charms uk the bullets, and that one, she said, gesturing to a studded purse and a red handbag. just tweeted: my God, Michael Kors is in New Orleans. It about time we get something like this. about time sentiment is one heard often from local shoppers who wonder why New Orleans has struggled to attract some of the high profile retailers common in other cities. With the addition of Michael Kors to the region the designer also plans to open a second store in Lakeside Shopping Center in Metairie next year shoppers are able to cross one name off their wish lists of not in New Orleans stores, a list that for many includes Zara, H Cole Haan, West Elm, Crate Barrel and others.
Kors isn the only retailer eyeing the New Orleans area. The spruced up space also features Brooks Brothers University Collection, stocked with preppy staples like Levi Ray Bans and Red Wing Boots.
USTY COSTANZA / THE TIMES PICAYUNEShoppers check out the new Michael Kors store at The Shops at Canal Place.
Around the corner from Brooks Brothers, Melanie Perret, a New Orleans native, has opened a French Sole boutique, bringing in the New York based brand fanciful ballet flats.
And Louis Vuitton this fall ripped out its existing boutique within the Saks Fifth Avenue and expanded by 30 percent, creating a new 2,800 square foot wood paneled emporium that exudes an aura of country club exclusivity. The additional elbow room has allowed for an expanded men department and more of the line exotic offerings in women handbags, heels and luggage.
One of the fashion industry heavy hitters, Kors gained rock star status among fashion fans when he became a judge on Lifetim pandora charms uk e TV Runway. Known for giving a jet set edge to classic American sportswear, his brand has been on a growth spurt, with plans to open 400 stores throughout the United States and Europe, according to reports in Women Wear Daily, an industry publication. On Thursday, Kors company raised $944 million in its initial public stock offering.
His empire stretches into shoes, accessories his oversized watches are hugely popular and clothes in both the signature Michael Kors collection and less expensive Michael Michael Kors, called a line in retail parlance. His 2,500 square foot Canal Place location is a Kors store, filled primarily with midpriced accessories and clothing; slinky black and gold dresses in the $150 range, handbags mostly under $500.
Cruising through the handbag department at Saks on a recent Saturday with an armful of shopping bags, Kristy Carriere of Baton Rouge marveled at the changes in the local shopping scene.
worked here (at Saks) 17 years ago, so I seen when it been up and down, she said. also a big Michael Kors fan. The last time we were in Vegas, we hit the Michael Kors store, so I definitely drive here to go shopping instead of going online. The New Orleans Saks Fifth Avenue has long been one of the chain top performing locations, attracting not only convention tourists, but also regional residents from as far away as Mobile, Ala., and Jackson, Miss., willing to travel for its luxury shopping experience.
RUSTY COSTANZA / THE TIMES PICAYUNEHannah Mulligan of Lafayette carries her bags out of the Michael Kors store at The Shops at Canal Place Mall.
Though some boutiques in the area carry similar designer labels, no other large department store in Louisiana, Mississippi or the Gulf Coast of Alabama has such a high concentration of luxury brands under one roof. After Katrina, Saks validated the local store importance, investing millions in a top to bottom renovation of the New Orleans location.
While the company doesn report individual store sales, Saks Inc. revenue at stores open at least a year climbed 10.2 percent from January through November, with total revenue increasing 8.5 percent to $2.33 billion. The highest sales were in women and men contemporary clothing, handbags, fine jewelry, men shoes, cosmetics and fragrances.
see New Orleans as one of the most exciting markets in the country, said Stephen I. Sadove, Saks chairman and chief executive officer, who was in town in October for meetings at the store.
an enormous resurgence, he said. always had the appeal of New Orleans, the tourism component, the cultural aspect. But now you have a city that recovering, you have a local economy that improving, and you got biomedical facilities that are building. This city has become a destination again. markets are a lure for luxury brands, as travelers are in the mindset to spend money, said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for the market research firm NPD Group. you go to where people work and roost, they thinking about saving money, he said. you go where they are at leisure, that where they enjoying themselves, and that luxury at its best.
retailers also have learned it isn about cluster marketing anymore, he said. used to open three or four stores in one area, because they could cluster management and inventory, but they learned you don need four stores in one city, you don need two stores in one city. You just need one store in the right location. Buoyed by post Katrina rebuilding, the New Orleans region has weathered the slump better than many cities, losing only 1.5 percent of local jobs from 2008 to 2010, compared with 5.1 percent nationally, according to a report by the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center.
Retailers who opened storefronts in bigger markets in pre recession days now are looking for places to expand where they won their existing stores, said retail expert Michael Ullian, who involved with the proposed conversion of the 109 year old riverfront Market Street power plant into a shopping and entertainment space.
hard marketing research supports the idea that there high end fashion demand here, both from locals and from the increase in the tourist business, Ullian said. an underserved market, and that what on retailers radar right now. the Bass Pro Shop was tossed around as a prime candidate for the Market Street power pl pandora charms uk ant conversion, the deal is far from final, and other tenants including some mid to high end department stores are looking at the site, he said.
are shopping again, spending money, Ullian said, think you see the aspirational shoppers (who stretch their budgets to buy brand names) back sooner than later, and when they do, they want that Louis Vuitton purse. shoppers, like Winger, follow their favorite designers like music lovers track their favorite bands. She watches all the New York runway shows online.