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Express Delving Into Street Level Store Makeovers

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With the recent news of the Express in Broadway Century Mall moving street level, and some major Ritz-y construction happening next door to the Michigan Avenue flagship, we can't help but wonder if all this fancy schmancy retail redux is already happening right beneath our noses, here in Chi-town. WWD reports.

For its recast collection, Express has a prototype store and bussed about 150 Wall Street analysts and investors from New York to the site in King of Prussia, Pa., .

With a dual-gender “denim lab” and mannequins posed inside tall, round glass vitrines and on a runway down the selling floor, “it really is very different than a mall store,” said Michael Weiss, president and chief executive officer of Express Inc. “It’s more like a store for a wonderful street in a cosmopolitan city.”

The new format could be taken to streets in San Francisco, Chicago, Miami and Manhattan, and other downtowns, and regards it as a flagship strategy with a larger footprint — 13,308 square feet at King of Prussia compared with the average of 8,500 square feet — and an urban look, representing a departure from the mall-based approach of the past.

In Manhattan, for example, Express only operates six stores. “We could easily double that,” Weiss said. “We are looking at prime locations in Manhattan. We would like a flagship in Manhattan, a bigger space. We would like 42nd Street.” Weiss also wants a larger location in SoHo, from the current site at 584 Broadway.

In Chicago, “We have a good store on Michigan Avenue. We could have a better store there.?In Aventura [north Miami] we are looking to be bigger, but it’s a fabulous store there.”

Express sees about 100 store openings in the U.S. in the next five years, as well as 50 in Canada, with the first opening there set for September. In addition, in some of the new stores, elements of the prototype will be adapted to certain existing units, either those undergoing renovations as a result of lease obligations or where business prospects justify remodels. Read full article. [WWD]
Photography by Antoine Bootz

Express

676 N Michigan Ave, Chicago IL