NEW YORK — The battle of the department store shoe floors continues, and Lord & Taylor is the latest player to get in on the action.
The retailer, which is owned by Hudson’s Bay Co., renovated the existing space on the second floor. The revamp officially debuts this week as part of a larger transformation.
The floor has a clean, contemporary and feminine aesthetic, complete with white hydrangeas, mercury glass accents, a mixture of marble and brass fixtures, and cozy chairs and couches. It is adjacent to the recently opened Brand Assembly, a curated apparel shop-in-shop for new designers, and also Birdcage, an accessory-driven, fashion-forward shop set to open this October.
“Footwear is an extremely important part of our business, and it continues to be a great focus,” said Liz Rodbell, president of Hudson’s Bay. “It’s a multifaceted renovation with the lovely new space for footwear and new contemporary additions like Brand Assembly and Birdcage. It’s taking the second floor and moving it forward in a fashion leadership position, and footwear is an important part of that.”
Besides a completely updated design, the footwear space also boasts an expanded product assortment. Lord & Taylor buyers are seeking out new brands for the floor to add to tried-and-true labels such as Steve Madden and Vince Camuto.
Among the fresh additions are Matt Bernson, Carolinna Espinosa, Pollini and Lord & Taylor private label 424 Fifth, as well as a greater number of exclusive styles from existing brands.
The retailer is also investing in its athletic offering and bringing in names such as Nike.
The diverse product mix is aimed at Lord & Taylor’s broad demographic range, from millennials to baby boomers, Rodbell said.
Moving forward, the retailer will replicate the footwear department in its Albany, N.Y., location. It will then remodel several other stores, though it hasn’t disclosed those locations.
“We’re looking at how footwear will play an important role in any renovation that we’re doing,” Rodbell said.
Vendors are upbeat about the increased focus on the shoe category.
“Lord & Taylor continues to develop their footwear departments into true focal areas, not only in the New York flagship, but in branch stores as well,” said David Kahan, CEO of Birkenstock USA. “This builds consumer loyalty. Customers know they can find compelling brands and be treated to a high level of customer service.”
The retailer will fete the new space at an event on Wednesday, with designers including Sam Edelman, Vince Camuto and Ivanka Trump expected to make an appearance.