Coach (COH) is about to open a snazzy new flagship store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, joining ne plus ultra brands like Rolex, Ermenegildo Zegna, and Salvatore Ferragamo on one of the most expensive shopping strips in the world.
The leather goods maker said on Tuesday that the 20,000 square-foot store, near the intersection of 53rd Street, will open this fall. The move is aimed at helping Coach restore a high-end aura that has eroded over the past few years, leading to sharp sales declines.
The store will be called “Coach House,” a designation aimed at evoking its ambitions of being a fashion house, not a retailer selling handbags for 70% off at an outlet mall far away from city centers. Coach says the store will have a customized façade and a modern interior, and it will be designed by Executive Creative Director Stuart Vevers with William Sofield, designer and president of Studio Sofield.
“Our intention is to create a true ‘Coach House,’ celebrating Coach’s heritage and history of craftsmanship,” CEO Victor Luis said in a statement. The “House,” which is timed to open on Coach’s 75th anniversary, will have a salon and “Craftsmanship Bar,” two features that other Coach stores don’t have. The staircase will be made of blackened steel and mahogany, and the three-level store will have a mix of custom-designed cabinetry with vintage and bespoke furniture and objects. Indeed, Coach appears to be taking a page out of Ralph Lauren’s (RL) playbook, with its Mansion on Madison Avenue. Coach will also open a separate, adjacent store for Stuart Weitzman, a luxury shoe brand it bought last year.
Last week, Coach reported its smallest decline in North American comparable sales in nearly two years and said it expects to return to growth sometime this fiscal year. The improvement is the fruit of efforts to reposition Coach as an upscale brand. Hiring the well-respected Vevers in 2013 has been instrumental in fostering this shift.
Coach, which has closed dozens of mall-based stores, is in the process of renovating many of its key locations in priority U.S. markets to give them a more luxurious look. The company said last week it is on track to have 40% of its stores in the new, fancier format, one where comparable sales have been increasing.