Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Denim, shoe brands bring standalone stores to SouthPark

Several familiar apparel brands will be branching out in Charlotte in the coming months, opening new standalone stores at SouthPark mall. Though their products are already available at specialty and department stores across the area, companies can gain more control over the customer and brand experience - and, they hope, boost sales - by opening stores exclusively devoted to their products. Will the new arrivals catch on here? As always, consumers will be the judge of that, starting this month.

First to open will likely be high-end denim maker 7 For All Mankind, which plans to debut sometime this month in the former Intermix space, in the Nordstrom wing. Already available at stores such as Belk, the Los Angeles-based brand is best known for its detailed and distressed jeans, priced at about $150 and up for women's styles. However, it also makes a broader array of clothing, including tops and sweaters, and the store - its first in the Carolinas - will sell denim, sportswear and handbags for men, women and children. The decade-old company is expanding its retail presence nationally, with about 20 stores already and about 10 more projected to open this year.

Casual and athletic shoe purveyor Skechers also plans to open a store later this month, in the former Illuminations space in the Macy's wing. It will sell styles for men, women and kids. The company already has an outlet at Concord Mills.

By early summer, longtime shoemaker Rockport should follow suit, with a shop in the former Club Libby Lu, also in the Macy's wing. The store will be the company's first in the Charlotte area, as well as the first in the state that uses a new concept, according to a news release: 90 percent of the store's inventory will be on the sales floor.

Finally, in a move that relates to clothing only in that it will likely make it more difficult for people to even squeeze into those pricey Seven jeans in the first place, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is scheduled to open this summer in the former Lindt Chocolate space next to Aveda, at the mall's center court. Like the Rocky Mountain stores at Northlake Mall, Concord Mills and Charlotte Douglas Airport, it'll sell chocolate and other confectionery products. Employees will prepare a variety of caramel and candy apples, fudge, chocolate and other items on-site and in view of customers, using traditional cooking implements like copper kettles. 

A couple of other additions are also shaking up the mall's food scene, as my colleague Helen Schwab has previously reported: Cowfish is aiming for a "wild and weird" burger bar-sushi fusion, while San Antonio's Modern Mexican will move into the former Morton's steakhouse.


Anonymous said...

Now can someone explain to me why people pay that much for jeans? I never understood it.

Anonymous said...

bc they say seven for all mankind on the tag. that is all.

Anonymous said...

Well I pay a lot less for other brands Wrangler and Carhartt that suit me just fine and probably last longer also.

Anonymous said...

different strokes, different folks.