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Retail Intel: March 2021

FN rounds up all the store openings, closings and redesigns happening this month, from throughout the footwear industry. Send your retail news to web@footwearnews.com.

March 30, 2021: U.K.-based Inov-8 is set to open its first-ever store, which it has named The Forge. The door — which will open in partnership with Pete Bland Sports — is located in the Mill Yard in Staveley, a village in Cumbria, England.

“Opening the new store in partnership with Pete Bland Sports feels very special. They are the leading retailer for fell and trail running in the U.K., and having stood next to their team in the rain selling products at events, I’ve seen first-hand how good their customer service and relationship-building is. This is why people travel from all parts of the country to visit their store in Kendal,” Inov-8 COO Michael Price said in a statement.

Additionally, Price said the storefront will focus on sustainability, and explained in a statement that Inov-8 has switched to renewable energy and has worked with the Mill Yard to have solar panels installed above the stores and office.

The debut Inov-8 store is scheduled to open on April 15. Initially, it will be open five days a week, from Thursday to Monday, and offer run, hike and fitness footwear and apparel for men and women.

March 23, 2021: Velasca is opening up shop in New York City. According to FN’s sister publication WWD, the direct-to-consumer Italian shoe brand — founded eight years ago in Milan by Enrico Casati and Jacopo Sebastio — will debut its first United States-based location at 250 Elizabeth Street in the Nolita neighborhood. It currently operates nine outposts in Italy, as well as one boutique in Paris and another in London. The opening was originally slated for March last year but was stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

March 12, 2021: Frances Valentine has expanded its brick-and-mortar footprint with a new store in New York City. The 1,000-square-foot space, which is located at 922 Madison Avenue, was designed by Steven Scarloff — a longtime friend of the brand’s cofounders, Elyce Arons and the late Kate Spade. Frances Valentine originally had a storefront at 67th Street and Madison Avenue, which started as a three-month popup but stayed open for 18 months.

March 10, 2021: Onitsuka Tiger has opened its first store on the West Coast. The brand’s new outpost — found at 474 N. Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Calif. — marks its third location in the country and second flagship in North America. (It has two other stores in New York City.) It spans 2,400 square feet and features an open layout, with a variety of its shoe collections, including the Heritage, Contemporary and Nippon Made styles. To celebrate the launch, the brand introduced four exclusive limited-edition items at the store: the Mexico 66 SD sneaker in two colorways with “Beverly Hills” embossed on the shoe’s exterior, as well as two graphic T-shirt styles.

Inside the Onitsuka Tiger store in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Inside the Onitsuka Tiger store in Beverly Hills, Calif.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Onitsuka Tiger

Big Openings Last Month

Feb. 22, 2021: Castañer is debuting its first brick-and-mortar location in the United States. The Spanish footwear brand — recognized for its espadrilles — has opened up a franchised boutique in Miami’s Aventura Mall and plans to expand to other regions in the country. The 500-square-foot outpost in Florida features a clean white exterior, while the interiors are lined with wood accents. Castañer oversees about 35 wholesale accounts in the U.S. and currently has its own stores across Spain, France and Italy, as well as Colombia and the Dominican Republic.

Feb. 12, 2021Loeffler Randall is opening its first store at 10 Prince Street in New York City’s trendy SoHo neighborhood. The inaugural location — spanning 625 square feet and designed by Unionworks founder Poonam Khanna in collaboration with Loeffler Randall founder Jessie Randall — will spotlight the brand’s shoes, bags, jewelry, accessories and ready-to-wear. “In the 15 years since starting Loeffler Randall, I have always dreamt of having this store,” Randall said. “Our customers are like family, and this is the first time we can welcome them into our brand ‘home,’ where they can truly see themselves not only in our designs, but also in our environment.” The boutique, which opens on Feb. 24, features curved walls and an archway that divides the space, as well as ripple-fold drapery panels, lush velvet materials and plaster textures.

Feb. 5, 2021: After setting up shop in Brooklyn last month, The RealReal has opened a store in Newport Beach, Calif. Located in the upscale Lido Marina Village, the retail space features a luxury consignment office, women’s ready-to-wear, handbags and shoes, as well as men’s bags and sneakers. The store will also house fine jewelry, watches, home decor and art. Additionally, the new location will offer a full menu of services, including cleaning and repairing. Like the brand’s other stores, the Newport Beach location was designed with the community in mind as it features a ’60s and ’70s California modern aesthetic. The space showcases an earth-toned color palette and includes Andrew Bush vintage prints and vintage ceramics.

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