Monday, May 18, 2020

[ALERT] Nordstrom to Shutter Atlanta Born Luxury Boutique

Nordstrom announced earlier today that is has permanently closed its three Jeffrey specialty stores as it continues to adjust to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Women's Wear Daily (WWD) first reported the news which affects the company's original store at Phipps Plaza in Buckhead, as well as sibling shops in New York's Meatpacking District and in Palo Alto, California at Stanford Shopping Center.  The closures come just days after the company revealed that it planned to close 16 full-line department stores in eight states plus one in Puerto Rico.  Following the closures the company will operates 100 full-line department stores including two in Atlanta: Phipps Plaza in Buckhead and Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody.  
Jeffrey was one of several boutiques which added street signage during Phipps Plaza's 2016 renovation 

"Jeffrey developed a more comprehensive designer offering across all categories — shoes, handbags, accessories and ready-to-wear for men and women. He helped us secure new distribution,” Pete Nordstrom said in an interview with WWD. “He leaned in with buying teams to help us improve our edit and selection. His presence in the market alongside our buying teams helped validate our place as a designer destination.…There’s always been a tremendous synergy between Nordstrom, Jeffrey Kalinsky and his successful luxury specialty stores,” he continued.

For his part, Kalinsky said, “Nordstrom has been an incredible partner to me and to the Jeffrey brand. While I’m disappointed in their decision to close Jeffrey stores, I understand it is the right decision for the business given the circumstances of this global crisis. 

Following the winding down of operations, Kalinsky plans to retire from Nordstrom.  

Jeffrey Kalinsky opened Jeffrey at Phipps Plaza in 1990, pairing his upscale clothing boutique with Bob Ellis, a luxury shoe business started by his father in Charleston, S.C. and later expanded to Atlanta.  The store immediately found an audience and helped launch the careers of several local retailers, Jim Whitlow of Deka [Society] among them.  Kalinsky expanded the brand to New York in 1999, opening on 14th Street in the Meatpacking District.  

Nordstrom, which opened at Phipps Plaza March 11, 2005, purchased a majority stake in Jeffrey in August of the same year for an undisclosed sum, rumored to be in the $40-50 million range.  Jeffrey brought Nordstrom designer expertise and relationships that the corporate chain wished to develop to further the designer business not only at Jeffrey, but at the full-line Nordstrom stores, too. 
Kalinsky shared news of the closure on his person Instagram

The Palo Alto store opened in August 2018 followed by the debut of a renovated and expanded store - now about 12,000 - at Phipps Plaza later that fall.  The imminent closure of Jeffrey at Phipps Plaza will leave a huge hole in the Saks Fifth Avenue wing where recent additions have included Tom Ford and Dolce & Gabbana.  

Kalinsky has been deeply involved in LGBTQ rights through his Jeffrey Fashion Cares fundraiser and fashion show.  The event, which this past year celebrated its 27th year in Atlanta, was held at Phipps Plaza and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, had already been cancelled for 2020, with the charity's website saying "we look forward to celebrating in 2021."   The charity also put on a New York event.  It's unclear what the future will hold for the events in either city with Nordstrom, who was previously a major sponsor, now out of the picture.  

Simon Property Group, which up until recently was hard at work on a multi-million dollar redevelopment of the former Belk store at Phipps Plaza, now finds itself with another significant space to re-lease or subdivide.  Given its prime location on the first level, adjacent to Saks, the space is sure to command high rent, but there are few options for quality tenants able to pay or in the market to expand.  

Are you surprised that Nordstrom decided to close all three Jeffrey stores?  What would you like to see open in place of Jeffrey at Phipps Plaza?  What is your favorite luxury store?  

Please share your thoughts below.  


Ham said...

Yes, a little sad and another hit for Phipps. I'm sure Simon will find an appropriate tenant like Mattress Wearhouse or a nice Wing place.

Anonymous said...

sad but true. but this is also what happens when you sell your boutique to a giant. look at what starbucks did to teavana.

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