Stride Rite Aims Older With New Retail Concept

NEW YORK — Stride Rite is growing up.

With the recent addition of tween-targeted offerings including the Jessica Simpson collection and Airwalk signature lines by Andy Macdonald and Anastasia Ashley, the Lexington, Mass.-based company has launched Collections by Stride Rite, a new retail concept designed to provide a shopping experience for older children.

“Over the past year, our portfolio has expanded to include more youth-oriented products, and we found we needed a fashion-forward, one-stop shop for this customer,” said Pam Salkovitz, president of the Stride Rite Children’s Group. “This new concept allows us to continue to cater to moms who want to purchase quality footwear for their children, while also including a fun shopping environment for older kids.”

The first Collections by Stride Rite store opened earlier this month on New York’s Upper East Side. The company plans to roll out two additional locations in other key markets later this year, with more to follow. The stores will carry the company’s own roster of brands, which includes Stride Rite, Saucony, Børn, Keds and Robeez, as well as a selection of outside brands, among them Lacoste, Nike, DC Shoes and Keen.

“The goal is not to replace existing Stride Rite stores,” Salkovitz noted. “This new concept is simply a different approach that [allows us to reach] an added consumer target, children ages 7 to 10.”

Designed by Boston-based architecture firm Bergmeyer Associates, in collaboration with Holliston, Mass.-based branding agency MDG, the 1,800-sq.-ft. New York store is split into two distinct sections. The front of the store is dedicated to youth shoppers and features polished concrete floors, modern fixtures and seating and large-scale lifestyle imagery. As shoppers move to the back of the store, the décor transitions to a softer look and feel tailored to infants and toddlers, replete with curved white walls and displays, colorful carpeting, and baby-friendly lifestyle graphics and icons. Each section has its own music system, with specially created playlists.

And in a fun touch, bubblegum aromas waft throughout the store. Also featured is Stride Rite’s 3D Fit Machine, an optical foot measurement system the company began testing in select stores earlier this year.

Salkovitz is bullish that the Collections concept will solidify the company’s reputation as a retailer for kids of all ages. “We believe this offers an exciting and convenient shopping experience tailored to the needs of growing families,” she said.

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