7 For All Mankind has closed its boutique in Lenox Square. In February's DeathWatch I predicted a closure within "six to nine months," they ended up closing even sooner; during the night this past Sunday. 7 For All Mankind, a division of Greensboro, North Carolina based VF Corporation opened in Lenox Square just a few short years ago, in late 2008, but neverseemed to do as well as other denim brands. True Religion Brand Jeans, another designer denim brand, added a second Atlanta area location in Perimeter Mall in 2010, having opened in the Luxury Wing of Lenox Square in 2007.
Personally, I like 7 For All Mankind, and have numerous pairs of their jeans and even a few button-downs. None of these items were purchased at their boutique, but instead at department stores like Bloomingdale's and off-price retailers like T.J. Maxx. 7 For All Mankind apparel, like many other VF lines, is sold at stores such at this, and can be purchased for far less than at the boutique itself. Both of the aforementioned retailers offer branded credit cards where consumers are further rewarded for their purchases.
Having your wares avaialble at other retailers is, of course, the route many apparel companies take. Anything from Calvin Klein underwear to Sperry Top-Siders are available at countless department and specialty stores in addition to branded stores. Calvin Klein, as ToneTo Atlanta readers will recall, closed their disappointing chain of White Label stores in 2010, while Sperry just announced it is ramping up plans for expanding both the number of boutiques and products the boutiques will carry.
All this is to say, I think boutiques like 7, and Vince (in Phipps Plaza), another DeathWatch member, need to do more to differentiate their boutiques. The 7 store was nice, but you could have put a dozen other boutiques in the space and they would fit too.
Ralph Lauren's bi-level boutique in the Luxury Wing at Lenox is a prime example of where the store's merchandise fits the asthetic and design of the store. Through the various lines from RRL to Ralph Lauren Purple Label, and even even their home offerings, each area of the store has its own identity, but all are clearly Ralph Lauren. You could not fill the space with any old retailer and have it have the same effect.
I recently had the opportunity to visit the Sperry Top-Sider store at Northpark Mall in Dallas, Texas. The store lives and breathes the nautical lifestyle of Sperry. You get the sense of what they are selling and who their target market is just walking by their store front.
VANS off the wall, another VF brand, will soon open stores in numerous Atlanta area malls. With the availability of their apparel and footwear at so many retailers and discount stores, I will be very curious to see what they do make their stores live the brand, rather than just sell it.
What do you think should open in place of the 7 store at Lenox Square? What are your thoughts on ubiquitous brands like 7 and Calvin Klein opening stand alone boutiques? What is your favorite denim company?