Posh Buckhead shopping center sinks to new low
The Shops Buckhead Atlanta, which opened in late 2014, will soon lose its fourth tenant of the year, and third retailer in just the past month!
On the heels of the quiet closures of both Helmut Lang and Denim & Soul, Scoop, a New York-based boutique is currently liquidating as it prepares to close.
Scoop, or Scoop NYC as it is known to some, was started by Stefani Greenfield and Uzi Ben-Avraham 20 years ago in New York City. Over the years, the chain grew to include a few locations in New York as well as satellite stores in California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada and Texas. Scoop, which stocked both its own in-house label as well as other labels, is credited with helping to launch brands like Rag & Bone and Alice + Olivia. Scoop's SoHo flagship recently closed, and WWD (Women's Wear Daily) now reports the entire chain is closing.
Scoop ownership blamed "high rents" for their chain's closure. Currently, merchandise at all remaining stores is 10-30% off (most only 10%) with sales expected to continue for the next four - seven weeks or until all in stock merchandise is sold. The 2500 square foot store in Buckhead opened in the fall of 2014.
Denim & Soul, which closed about a month ago, was another out of town boutique that failed at the center. Buckhead area sources indicate employees showed up for work about a month ago only to find a corporate team packing up the store and employees were told the store was closed. Marcus Lemonis of CNBC's The Profit invested nearly a million dollars last year in the business, then known as The Blues Jeans Bar. Lemonis rebranded the boutique "Denim & Soul" and worked to increase the margins at the chain's then three locations (Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco). Lady Fuller, the boutique's founder, had thirteen stores at the height of her business, but as she confessed to Lemonis, she never understood the markets, and only three of the stores were profitable. With Lemonis financially invested in the company with a 50% stake and the authority to make all business decisions, it's amazing to see the company make similar mistakes. The Atlanta location of Denim & Soul opened this past December, and according to sources at the Buckhead property, didn't even last four months. The chain did add other locations in both Lake Forest and Deerfield, Illinois as well as Jacksonville, Florida, which recently opened.
|Former Denim & Soul|
Helmut Lang, a division of Japan-based Link Theory has also closed. Helmut Lang, rumored to be on life support virtually since opening, also quietly closed about a week ago. With a very niche market and premium pricing, the store failed to resonate with the Atlanta consumer. Industry sources indicate that the closure of sibling brand Theory, also in The Shops Buckhead Atlanta, may not be far behind. If the store does close, it would mark Theory's second closure in the market, having previously closed a store in Phipps Plaza.
|Former Helmut Lang|
Despite the recent openings of Lindbergh, COS, Kit & Ace and NARS cosmetics, and the upcoming openings of Dior and Flywheel, industry sources report that word is spreading that The Shops Buckhead Atlanta is a "disaster."
Brunello Cucinelli, a luxury store in the project, has reportedly gone weeks at a time without a single sale. Likely due to this, the company recently released their General Manager, Jon Falk, who had been hired away from Zegna in Lenox Square. The store is reportedly now working with a skeleton staff of only three associates.
Taverna was recently announced as the replacement to the failed Thirteen Pies, but I seriously doubt it fares much better.
Qing Mu and Doraku, two Asian restaurants located on the East Paces Ferry side of the project, are also reportedly struggling.
Sources indicate that the only real successful tenants in the project are Hermes (no surprise), Akris (somewhat surprising), Christian Louboutin (home of the red bottom heels) and Le Bilboquet (which despite recently losing its GM and promoting its maitre d' has not lost a beat). Shake Shack, which started out red hot, had reportedly cooled significantly, only recently starting to show improvements in overall sales.
Should The Shops Buckhead Atlanta rethink its tenant mix? In my opinion, yes! Should ownership follow the blueprint laid by A Social Mess? Perhaps not.
The latest traffic generating attempt on behalf of the center, "The Market," is a weekly Sunday morning / afternoon event that is essentially a mini farmers market. Meant as a way to generate foot traffic for the center, sources indicate it has, but after two weeks, many report only slight improvements while others report no difference at all.
Is parking still your biggest grievance at The Shops Buckhead Atlanta? Are you surprised to see so many tenants closing? What could ownership do to make visiting The Shops Buckhead Atlanta more compelling?
Please share your thoughts below.