Saks Fifth Ave

Topics: Department store, Retailing, Macy's Pages: 6 (2044 words) Published: August 25, 2010
Saks Fifth Avenue

Saks Fifth Avenue is a department store chain that specializes in upscale merchandise that usually caters to higher income individuals, mostly well-to-do women between the ages of 35 and 55, while at the same time, still being able to offer high-end merchandise at better prices then smaller boutique type stores. Which is the very first reason why I chose this company because it allows a college student like I enjoy luxury merchandise at a reasonable price and it also has been making changes to attract young middle- class shoppers? SFA is near the top of the line in fashion; selling apparel, cosmetics, jewelry, and shoes from top designers such as Burberry, Chanel, and Prada, as well as Saks' own private label merchandise.

The retail specialty store, Saks Fifth Avenue, has stood as a symbol of American wealth and prestige for most of the twentieth century. The firm was founded in 1902 when Andrew Saks, a street peddler from Philadelphia, opened Saks & Company, a men's clothing shop in Washington, D.C. Saks soon expanded his store operations to Richmond, Virginia, Indianapolis, and New York City. For his New York store, he began providing high-end retail market by providing high quality merchandise and offering first-class service. After Saks became president after his father's death in 1912, Saks made a promise to become the premiere specialty store for New York society. Saks buyers such the globe for unique and fashionable merchandise in order to build the store's reputation. With the shift of New York retail uptown during the 1910s, it became apparent to Saks that for the company to continue its fashionable reputation, it needed a more prestigious address than its present location on34th Street near Herald Square. Horace Saks agreed to merge his retail store chain with Gimbel Brothers department store, which operated stores in Philadelphia; Madison, Wisconsin; and New York. Saks' old Herald Square store site was leased to Gimbels and combined with their existing store nearby.

On September 15, 1924, Horace Saks and Bernard Gimbel opened Saks Fifth Avenue, making it the largest department store in the world at that time. As business boomed, a cousin of Horace Gimbel, Adam, became his new partner. Soon after Horace died suddenly of septic poisoning in 1925, Adam took over. Adam Gimbel got the credit for building the store's vision and turning it into the national chain store it is. One of Adam Gimbel's first acts was to redecorate the flagship store in the Art Moderne style, featured at the 1925 Paris Exposition. Gimbel also broke up the department store into a series of specialty salons, to focus on his clients in a more intimate setting. He filled Saks Fifth Avenue with exclusive merchandise from Europe and the U.S. and established small boutiques that made custom men's shirts and ladies' made-to-order dresses. He built the dominant fine shoe business and believed in a large stock, even in difficult economic times, so customers could have a large range of choices. He opened the company's first Resort store in Palm Beach, Florida, becoming the first specialty store to expand nationally. Both chains prospered, with Gimbel's and Saks & Company supplying all income levels, while Saks Fifth Avenue appealed to the well-heeled. By 1969, the year Adam retired; there were 28 Saks Fifth Avenue stores in 16 states. By 1978 the number of stores reached 30, and in 2004 there were 63 including the off 5th outlet stores.

At the beginning of the 21st century, Saks Fifth Avenue faced a number of internal and external challenges to its survival. In 1973 the U.S. British American Tobacco (B.A.T.) offered to purchase Gimbel Bros. As the company was experiencing financial problems, it was really something to think about. They renovated the Fifth Avenue store in 1978, closed the Gimbel chain in 1986, and planned a $300 million expansion the following year. Saks Fifth Avenue was sold in 1990 for $1.6 billion....

Cited: "About Us | Our History." Saks Incorporated. Web. 15 June 2010.
"Saks Is Among the Companies in the Department Stores Industry with the Lowest Relative
Performance (SKS, DDS, JCP, M, JWN)." Select Sector SPDRs. Web. 15 June 2010. .
Seeker, Job. "Saks Fifth Avenue Employment." HubPages. Web. 13 June 2010. .
"Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises Announces Management Changes." Business Wire. Business
Wire. 2001. HighBeam Research. 14 Jun. 2010 .
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