On Thursday, Galeria Kaufhof in Düsseldorf Königsallee in Germany will unveil the first phase in a three-year refurbishment program.
The European department store chain, which was acquired last year by Canada’s Hudson’s Bay Company, is launching a modernized 2,500-square-meter lower level selling footwear and lingerie.
The launch will be supported by U.S. footwear designer Sam Edelman, who will be making a personal appearance and showcasing a collection that includes fabrications exclusive to the store such as fashion-forward brocade styles.
“It’s a wonderful partnership, which will allow me to manifest my vision earlier and faster and get to the customer more directly and quickly,” he enthused.
The new space being unveiled will act as a “test concept” for the company’s other German stores explained Edo Beukema, General Manager for Merchandise and Marketing.
The tally of footwear brands is being increased from around 40 to 100 and will include labels already known to the market such as Edelman, Calvin Klein and Hugo Boss, plus U.S. labels such as Steve Madden and Vince Camuto. The latter, says Beukema, is one of the Top 3 sellers in parent company Hudson’s Bay Canadian stores but is barely known in Germany.
“This is our opportunity to innovate our brand portfolio offering brands that are successful in the States a platform going into the German market. It’s a process of trial and error,” he said.
There will be a whole new section devoted to sneakers as well with brands such as Adidas, Puma, Under Armour and New Balance.
But it’s more than just an extension of product. It’s also a whole new way of doing things. Generally speaking, German department stores display their shoes as pairs in boxes, but Galeria Kaufhof is introducing “sample selling” for the first time with only one pair on display.
There will be more than three times as many sales staff on the shop floor, he said — around 30 in total.
“We are investing in service, introducing a stronger customer approach than usual in the German market,” he added, “and it’s this interaction with the customer that we strongly believe is the way forward. I believe it will help us sell more shoes.”
For his part, Edelman has been coming to Düsseldorf for 35 years. Esprit, the company for which he worked in the Eighties, was based in the city: “It brings back great memories.”
Next for Edelman? “We’ll be doing mid calf booties in a really big way, but I don’t want to give away all my secrets,” he teased.