Jay Piccola Talks Puma Lab Concept

Puma is getting scientific about style with its latest retail format, and it thinks it has the formula for growth.

Puma Lab, a collaboration between Boston-based Puma North America and New York-based retailer Foot Locker, will bring styles from the breadth of Puma’s offering to stores under a periodic table-like framework that highlights design, luxury, creativity and multiple sport categories.

The stores — much like the House of Hoops concept Foot Locker created with Nike, and the Flight 23 Jordan-brand store that opened with Footaction — will be run and operated by Foot Locker and stocked with Puma merchandise.

Jay Piccola, president of Puma North America, said the merchandise mix will draw from the brand’s full line — “anything from the Puma Suede to the Alexander McQueen collections.”

And expect a few exclusives, too. “We want this to be a unique destination,” he said.

Puma celebrated the grand opening of its two Atlanta outposts earlier this month, with Piccola citing the city as an ideal market in which to gather data.

“Atlanta and the two malls, [The Gallery at South Dekalb Mall and Greenbriar Mall], in particular, are at the forefront of trend-setting,” he said. “[We] thought this would be a good starting point to getting the Puma brand in front of that [trend-savvy] consumer.”

Piccola noted the lab-like design scheme and the unique product mix will set the stores apart, even from the brand’s own doors. “There won’t be anything like it in the U.S., including our own retail,” he said.

When it comes to the rollout of the new concept, Puma and Foot Locker are thinking big. The concept is expected to expand to 125 Foot Locker doors as either components or shop-in-shops.

And further collaborations with key retail partners aren’t off the table either, Piccola added. “We have some things in the works that we’re not at the stage of announcing, and we’re pretty close in terms of another concept, although not as big and elaborate,” he said.

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