Retail Guide: The Latest Store Openings

Crocs Pops Up in London
Coinciding with the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, Crocs is helping Brits get in a feel-good mood. The brand recently opened a pop-up shop at Spitalfields Market in London that will stay up into fall. The goal, said European marketing director Michael Marshall Clarke, is to celebrate summer, as well as introduce consumers to the new company image and the new product range. “We’re so much more than our iconic clog. We’ve evolved,” said Clarke. “This campaign aims to change customer perception of our brand [and] encourage them to take a fresh look at us and join our evolution.” The shop showcases a selection of in-season styles, as well as select fall and winter looks. One wall of the store features a brand history, as well as a water bar for thirsty patrons. “This store is a celebration of the British summertime,” Clarke said.

Fluevog Takes on DC
Canadian designer John Fluevog staked yet another claim in the U.S. with a shop in Washington, D.C. The 2,500-sq.-ft. location at 1265 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., in the historical Georgetown area, opened the first week of August. The store occupies a restored, clay-brick building that dates back to the early 1900s. While the structure may have history, the shop’s interior has a modern vibe, decorated with Pop Art-inspired shoe art and panels in bright, modern colors. The men’s department occupies a back room designed to resemble a 1970s-era lounge with teak wood walls, leather couches and velvet curtains that invite shoppers to linger. “There are Fluevogers in Washington and have been for many years,” said Stephen Bailey, marketing and communications director for the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company, noting that sales on the brand’s website have indicated strong online traffic from consumers in the District. “D.C. has always been on our radar, [and] we have been seriously looking for spaces there for about three years.”

Rime’s NYC Reason
Brooklyn, N.Y., retailer Rime is crossing the bridge to Manhattan. This September, the men’s and women’s specialty store is bowing its second location, a 600-sq.-ft. store at 167 E. 87th St. on the Upper East Side. According to owner Susan Boyle, who opened the original shop five years ago, “There needs to be energy in the city. There’s a lot in Brooklyn, but Manhattan is flat. I want to bring something unique to [areas] that don’t have many exclusive lines.” While the new location will have the same edgy vibe as the Brooklyn store, Boyle said it would offer more-exclusive merchandise and higher price points, with such brands as Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen.
  
Carmen Steffens Makes LA Move
Carmen Steffens is having a Hollywood moment. The Brazilian brand, which had previously based its Southern California flagship in Sherman Oaks, relocated the store earlier this month to Los Angeles. President of U.S. operations Mark Willingham said the brand was ready to move into a larger market. “Sherman Oaks was really a testing ground for us,” he said. “We were there for five years. We got the information we wanted [about consumer preferences] and now we’ve moved to a more central area.” The 1,700-sq.-ft. space in the heart of Hollywood incorporates the brand’s new design concept, most recently introduced in its Saõ Paulo store, featuring neutral colors, leather furniture and bright lighting. “Lighting is key to what we’re doing,” Willingham said. The shop also includes a private showroom in the back for celebrities and media. Willingham noted that the brand is exploring opportunities to open doors across the U.S. “We’re looking at New York, Miami, Atlanta and Dallas,” he said. “There are a lot of key markets we’re interested in.”

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