Shoebox Debuts New Store Concept

NEW YORK — Shoebox New York is ready to step out with a new look in 2010.

The retail chain bowed a revamped store design in late October at its location in Greenvale, N.Y. The format will eventually be incorporated into all locations and will be featured in several new global stores next year.

“Internationally, we’re going to have a big year,” said Chris Dull, president of NexCen Franchise Management, whose parent company, NexCen Brands Inc., inked in 2007 a joint partnership with Shoebox and The Camuto Group to franchise the retailer.

Dull cited Canada, Australia and the United Arab Emirates as regions for expansion. “Over the next five years, we should develop close to 50 or 60 international doors in existing countries where we’ve inked agreements.” He added that the first Shoebox New York unit is set to open in the United Arab Emirates in about 60 days. The retailer already counts franchised units in South Korea, Vietnam and Kuwait.

At home, a handful of store openings are also in the works.

“Domestically, I would anticipate about a half-dozen units opening next year — between six and 10 total locations in the U.S. It isn’t a tremendous amount, but would double the size of our U.S. presence,” said Dull, pinpointing possible destinations such as Miami, New Orleans, Boston, Chicago and Dallas. “We have a tremendous demand for the prototype.”

The new store interiors were created by Brooklyn, N.Y.-based designer Sergio Mannino with input from Shoebox New York founder and partner Richard Kirshenbaum, as well as NexCen and The Camuto Group.

“From a design perspective, to have a solid franchise concept, you need to have something fresh, relevant and consistent,” said Dull. “Shoebox had various different looks in the units in place, and we needed to create one consistent platform.”

Mannino said he wanted to design a space that was easy to roll out and build regardless of location, but that did not compromise the in-store experience. The designer opted for a minimal look throughout, with the exception of various display tiles in different colors, sizes and materials — such as linoleum, plastic laminate and lacquer — that are interchangeable, allowing for endless merchandising opportunities.

“The goal was to [create] a store that could be mass produced because it’s composed of only a few elements, in this case, tiles,” Mannino said. “Design is mainly communication — it’s not only about solving functional problems. It should always be an experience, because when you buy a product, you also buy the whole world behind it.”

Kirshenbaum said he was pleased with the update. “[The new look] is great and it complements the assortment of brands we carry,” he said at a launch event in October.

About half the store’s assortment includes Camuto Group brands, such as Tory Burch, Arturo Chiang and Vince Camuto. The rest of the vendor mix will depend on the location, but could feature Shoebox’s private label, as well as Alexander McQueen and Frye.

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