Gucci has carved out a reputation as an innovator among fashion brands, but its latest move is to open a store in a New Jersey megacentre.
On Tuesday, American Dream announced that Gucci was expanding its presence in the East Rutherford-based shopping entertainment center from a store on Saks Fifth Avenue to a 10,000-square-foot freestanding two-story store. The store will be part of American Dream’s luxury wing, dubbed The Avenue, which opened in mid-September. The avenue is currently home to 13 other stores, including the Louis Vuitton shop-in-shop in Saks, as well as the Italian restaurant Carpaccio. Also on Tuesday, American Dream revealed that another Kering brand, Saint Laurent, will soon be expanding its store from the second floor of The Avenue to the first floor, to occupy a total of 7,000 square feet.
The Avenue was a slow build riddled with obstacles, true to the spirit of American Dream. The existing Saks Fifth Avenue store has always been meant to be The Avenue’s “anchor”, Ken Downing, then creative director of American Dream’s parent company, Triple Five Group, said in July. But, before declaring bankruptcy and announcing its intention to close all of its stores, Barneys was to be positioned “at the front of The Avenue” in a 50,000 square foot space directly across from Tiffany & Co, a- he declared. And despite May 2019 press releases naming Moncler and Watches of Switzerland among retailers slated to open in The Avenue, they never did. Zadig & Voltaire either, which Downing abandoned in July.
Meanwhile, Downing, who was leading the project, recently left Triple Five Group to lead Hearst’s new e-commerce marketplace, dubbed The Tower. His appointment was announcement in mid-December.
Finally, The Avenue’s current number of 13 stores is well below the property’s initial target. “The avenue opens with a cluster of about 20 plus stores,” Downing said in July. “But over the next six months to a year or a year and a half, more stores will open. “
Indeed, new The Avenue stores are regularly unveiled, with Anne Fontaine announced in October and Alexander Wang in November.
American Dream declined to comment on Gucci and Saint Laurent rental terms and vacant store sales within The Avenue. But in July, Downing said all of The Avenue’s tenants signed long-term leases except for its Dream Drop pop-up tenants.
In Kering’s latest earnings report for the third quarter of 2021, announced in October, Kering CFO Jean-Marc Duplaix stressed that the entire company is moving away from the wholesale channel to focus on own stores, including e-commerce. For the quarter, Gucci reported revenue of about $ 2.5 billion, an increase of 3.8% year-over-year. Among the brand’s advancements in 2021 was the launch of the Gucci Garden Roblox Experience in May and the Experimental Online Store Gucci chest in September. The site sells styles from emerging designers in addition to Gucci.
An American Dream representative confirmed that the company heavily marketed The Avenue to tourists. And they said that the mall’s pedestrian traffic is currently heavy, especially on The Avenue. It uses signage in parking structures, as well as digital signage throughout the mall, to direct mall shoppers to the luxury wing and its stores.
Still not finished yet, the American Dream project is in the works for 19 years. In March From 2021, owner Triple Five Group defaulted on its $ 3 billion American Dream loan and was forced to cede 49% of its stake in Mall of America and West Edmonton Mall in Canada to its financial lenders. Triple Five Group first sealed the deal to resume development in 2011. At the time, the center, which had been under construction since 2003, was 85% complete and shut down. The company has scheduled the grand opening for March 2020, when the pandemic hit states. In addition to shopping, a DreamWorks water park and Big Snow indoor ski resort are among its attractions.