There are two schools of thought when dealing with a recession (well probably more than two, but I’m no economist and these are the only ones I know) – consolidate, act conservatively and attempt to stay on your feet; or EXPAND EXPAND EXPAND! I’m terribly excited to see that some of Auckland’s most prominent fashion retailers are choosing the latter option. I’ve been hearing rumours about new stores opening for a week or two now, so I thought it was about time I got off my comfortable chair in my cushy new bedroom-office (I too have expanded, off my bed and onto a real live desk), and started getting some solid facts about what’s happening in this city of ours.
Limited time only pop-up store Macaroni Penguin
First things first, Macaroni Penguin. Showroom 22 led the charge to Teed St with their one-month-only pop-up store in the old Stenbeck and Morse site, opened for philanthropic reasons after several local labels’ stockists went bust and left the designers with no outlet for their already produced stock. The store is selling a selection of brands including twentysevennames, Alexandra Owen, State of Grace and Karen Walker Eyewear, and is open now until 29 May. When it closes, an Annah Stretton store will move into the site, bringing her total of Newmarket stores to two. According to the press release, “this new beginning is a reflection of the determination of owner Annah Stretton to strengthen her business”.
WORLD Man is stepping back from High St and into Little High St near their huge WORLD Deluxe store, with plans to initiate the move in the next two weeks. WORLD’s PR Matt Vogts told me this morning that they’ve been wanting to get out of the current High St location for a while, citing the store’s irregular shape as one of the reasons behind the move. Vogts also said that the new store is slightly larger than the High St store, and will “feel a lot better inside”. When asked if they’ve considered a store in Newmarket, Vogts said that they’ve been scouting a few locations in Newmarket, they’re also looking to expand in Australia, and their first ever Christchurch store will open on the corner of High St and Lichfield St next month.
Newmarket’s Teed St is looking like a High St carbon copy, with an explosion of new stores starting up from next month. Fabric is going in first with an expected opening date of late June, early July. According to manager Leon Vince, the store is going to be much the same as the High St store, with an emphasis on denim, Comme fragrances and clothing. This is the store’s second attempt at Newmarket. “Eight years ago we didn’t give it a great show,” said Vince, “but now it’s time to try it again and diversify. Traffic and parking have become hard in the city, and because of the recession it’s probably a really good time to be expanding. Competition is falling away a bit, and people want to shop with stores they know. When it’s quiet you don’t want to wait for your customers to come to you, you’ve got to take it to them. We’re taking it to the people!”
Locally owned eyewear specialists Sunglass Bar are moving off Broadway and next to Fabric, with an expected opening date of 1 August. Newmarket manager Leah told me that Broadway was never their preferable Newmarket location. “Broadway isn’t our target market. Teed St is where we want to be, it’s more our target customer.”
Zambesi is moving their existing Teed St store into the much larger historic Hayes Foundry building on the corner of Osborne and Teed St, next door to the Sunglass Bar, with an expected opening date of 1 August. According to Neville Findlay, the lure of the historic building was too great for him to pass up. “I was seduced by the building, I’m always attracted to those character buildings, so when I heard that the Foundry building was available I got very excited and started making some enquiries. It’s given us an opportunity to display a much wider range of product, including menswear, which we haven’t been able to do in Newmarket before.”
And finally, Karen Walker is set to open up her first Ponsonby location in what is now the Isakelle store on Ponsonby Rd, a few doors along from the WORLD Beauty store. The store will open early August. More on that to come!
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