Publication: Chain Store Age

Saks Fifth Avenue, The Galleria, Houston

June 10, 2016

Saks Fifth Avenue has relocated its store in Houston’s The Galleria, opening a larger space that offers the ultimate luxury department store experience.

Designed in partnership with CBX, the new Saks occupies approximately 200,000 sq. ft. on two shopping levels. In addition to an expanded merchandise selection, it houses the second largest beauty and fragrance department in the Saks portfolio, an enhanced Fifth Avenue Club with eight private shopping suites, and an outpost of a favorite local cocktail bar and restaurant. It also offers the company’s Saks at Your Service home-based personal shopping, styling and tailoring services.

The design inspiration is derived from mid-century, modern architectural principles, and features unexpected pops of colors and materials. Due to its massive size (more than twice the size of the average Saks), the store embodies unique architectural details and elements of surprise, including a dynamic sculptural staircase that appears as a ribbon dancing its way down from the second floor. An eclectic mix of found and custom furniture, fixtures, decorative lighting and accessories are found throughout the space, along with innovative, and sometimes non-conventional, hand-crafted and hand-applied materials and finishes.

Store highlights include the lingerie department, which a new design concept that includes […]

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Four 2015 Retail Trends You Haven’t Already Heard About

January 8, 2015

Have you read any 2015 retail trend forecasts lately? Let’s face it, many so-called trends for the year ahead — the need to focus on things like mobile payment, customization, foodservice, smaller formats or millennial shoppers, to name a few — are at this point just the cost of doing business.

Yes, technology will be a part of retailing in 2015, just as it was in 2013 or, for that matter, 2010. These days, the story is more about real estate: As pressure on sales per square foot increases and retailers hunt for smaller footprints in higher-density areas, chains are getting increasingly creative. Some are even partnering with each other to compete. Here are four trends to watch for in the months ahead:

Theme Park-ifying Consumers are shopping more often and making smaller trips. Because of this, retailers are not just shifting to smaller formats; they are also taking increased note of how people shop and why their habits are changing. Given the glut of empty big boxes in otherwise-healthy strip malls and shopping centers across the country, large-format seekers should look to New York and Chicago’s Eataly for inspiration. Sometimes likened to a grocery store with tasting rooms, the […]

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Humanizing Retail: Five design trends likely to loom large in 2014

February 11, 2014

By David W.

Looking ahead at a year that will most certainly see a continued evolution of what retail is and what it does, I am excited at the prospects of participating in, toying with and influencing that evolution. For this forecast, I am concentrating on physical retail since I believe this is where the innovation will — and indeed, must — occur. E-tailers and hybrid-tailers will continue to make transactions easier and safer while adding algorithms that suggest products and services tailored to the individual. Online purchasing will become more intuitive and smarter, connecting you with various electronic devices, apps and, soon, even your refrigerator and closet.

Because of this, retail designers will focus on humanizing the in-store experience. The goal is to give consumers a reason to get out of their pajamas and walk into a store. Here are five trends likely to influence the evolution of retail in 2014.

1. ‘Pop Up’ turns to ‘Drop Off’ Pop-up stores have traditionally taken advantage of empty storefronts for short periods of time and have been used to promote products and generate buzz. This year we’ll see a dramatic increase, not of pop-ups, but of “drop-offs”: storage container-sized retail spaces […]

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Staying the Same is not an Option

November 5, 2013

Innovation is key in retail — so long as it is rooted in realism

By Joseph Bona,

In media interviews of late, Beth Newlands Campbell, the new CEO of Food Lion, has been offering reporters a frank assessment of the supermarket chain’s ho-hum, middle-of-the-road situation: “Staying the same,” she explains, “is not an option.”

Slogans such as these can only go so far. But in the topsy-turvy world of 21st-century retailing, you could do a lot worse than Campbell’s mantra. Retailing, after all, continues to be rife with homogeneity, commoditization and redundancy. Imagine a team of researchers conducting a blindfold test. They strip the logos from inside a wide range of drugstores, supermarkets and big boxes. Then they bring in some blindfolded consumers. Would these shoppers, once their blindfolds were lifted, actually know where they were? Arguably, many would not have the foggiest idea whether they were in chain X, Y or Z.

Such is the sameness of the shopper experience today. While there are leaders in various retailing categories — among supermarkets, for example, chains like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Fairway have carved out distinct identities — many other operators would likely flunk the blindfold test. Their stores […]

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WaWa, various locations in Florida

October 25, 2013

East Coast-based convenience store operator WaWa is expanding through the state of Florida with a new prototype designed to reflect the language and style associated with Floridian vernacular architecture.

On the exterior, pastel colors, clapboard siding, pitched roofs and front porches reference historic south and central Florida building types. At the same time, travelers from the Mid-Atlantic states will find the chain’s familiar “winged” gas canopy, the welcoming centrally located entry portal and familiar Canada Goose logo

A spacious open layout, with high ceilings and abundant natural lighting, gives the interior an inviting, modern feel. Digital signage is used to highlight the store’s food and beverage offerings in a fun, appetizing way

A vibrant red-tiled wall placed front and center highlights the new center island kitchen. Guests can order any specialty drink or sandwich exactly the way they want using Wawa’s touch-screen system, with a series of screens prominently positioned at the kitchen/specialty beverage area’s counters.

The counter area is immediately adjoined by coffee and fountain beverage sections with a backdrop of a warmer taupe wall tile. Red drum shades are used over the coffee area and at the beverage coolers to create a sense of place.

With more than […]

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Advantage: Retail

October 25, 2013

By Crosby Renwick

Sure, the Internet plays an aggressive game. It’s looking like the Internet business is trouncing the retail business. However vast an assortment or low the prices a retailer offers, the Internet does it better and cheaper. The prognosticators all say the same thing: What little growth there will be in consumer spending over the next five years is mostly going to happen online.

But, the bricks-and-mortar model can start winning again by leveraging its natural talent with the changing conditions.

Changing conditions? Well, that would be the aging of the marketplace. It’s a fact: Got to go with it. On the face of it, this changing condition looks threatening versus assistive because older people don’t spend as much on goods — they’ve pretty much already bought everything they really need. But they buy services. In fact, for several decades households have been increasing their expenditures on services while expenditures on goods as a percent of all spending have been going down.

Natural talent of retail? That would be service. Yes, service. Haven’t bricks-and-mortar retailers been in the service business all along? Especially mom-and-pop stores, who buy, edit, arrange, display and demonstrate an array of products while bringing […]

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CBX Design Firm of the Year

September 18, 2013

Headquarters: New York

Key Projects: Saks Fifth Avenue, Beverly Hills, Calif. (shown); Duane Reade, multiple New York locations; Lord & Taylor, Philadelphia; RadioShack, multiple U.S. locations; Terpel, Colombia

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‘Social Retail’ to the Rescue

May 30, 2013

By Crosby Renwick,

The pundits say retail, as we’ve known it since the ancient Egyptians, is coming to an end. Ouch. That’s big. You have to admit the logic is not bad: When retail is literally everywhere, when we can buy virtually anything off our phones and have it delivered, why go to a store?

This recalls when Pablo Picasso was asked if painting human figures was still possible after the technologies of photography and cinema were depicting them much more truly. His response was, “Now at least we know everything that painting isn’t.” Technology had killed painting’s previous purpose: depiction. But, on the other hand, technology freed painting to become something else.

Retail has always been about bringing mostly other people’s goods together at a location convenient for your customers. Throughout history, retailers added value by giving consumers easy access to a variety of goods. Whether it was a town marketplace, a store, or a mall, consumers had to go to the purveyors of physical goods. Now, retailers come to us through our digital devices.

So, is retail really dead? No, but its role is changing. Many stores will close in the decades to come. But like painting in […]

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From Online -to- On the Street

October 31, 2012

By Peter Burgoyne:

Last month, web retailer Piperlime opened its first brick-and-mortar store in Manhattan’s SoHo, just up the block from the first freestanding store opened by online retailer DwellStudio back in June. But the motives for these two online retailers to open “on-the-street” are likely very different. And the reasons have to do with the nature of their offerings.

DwellStudio is a lifestyle retailer that only sells its own products, and the nature of those products is a tactile one. Sure, the company made a reputation for itself by putting bold graphics on sheets and accessories for adults and children, but at the end of the day, people want to touch the products, feel the thread-count, smell the candles. DwellStudio has a deep inventory on its site, but since it only sells products it manufactures, the inventory is not as deep as, say, a Zappos, which offers tens of thousands of different brands.

By contrast, Piperlime, the fashion retailer owned by the Gap, Inc., has an extremely deep inventory of products under hundreds of different brands on its site. But its store features a variety of designers that are representative of the Piperlime brand overall, rather than the […]

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WaWa makes Florida debut with new prototype

July 19, 2012

Orlando, Fla. — Convenience-store operator WaWa has entered the Florida market, opening a store across from Sea World in Orlando. Four additional units are scheduled to open in the Orlando market during the next four five weeks.

Designed by New York City-based CBX with the help of local architects and engineers Cuhaci & Peterson, Wawa’s new 4,600-sq.-ft. Orlando store is intended to reflect the language and style associated with Floridian vernacular architecture. The new ground-up store will serve as the prototypical design for Wawa’s wave of new stores planned for the Central Florida market.

Exterior characteristics include pastel colors, clapboard siding, pitched roofs and front porches that reference historic south and central Florida building types. The design also pays careful attention to landscaping, allowing the fuel islands and store to blend with its verdant surroundings.

The new location features WaWa’s familiar “winged” gas canopy, a centrally located entry portal, ample up-front parking and the chain’s signature Canada Goose logo. The new Florida prototype also features expansive windows that provide a clear view to the new interior design.

“While the new design style is uniquely Floridian, every other visual reference is recognizably Wawa,” said Joseph Bona, CBX retail division president.

The […]

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