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[February 27, 2013]
DSW tries on Luxe-ury online, pop-up shops [Boston Herald]
(Boston Herald (MA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Feb. 27--Shoe retailer DSW Inc. is wooing a more upscale customer with the likes of Gucci, Prada, Jimmy Choo and Stella McCartney.
It's heralding the launch of its new Luxe810 e-commerce site with five pop-up stores selling ready-to-wear women's and men's designer shoes, handbags and other accessories with prices starting at 40 percent off.
The temporary stores, which open March 1 for the month, will include a 6,200-square-foot location at the Mall at Chestnut Hill and others in New York, San Francisco, Boca Raton and Washington, D.C.
Luxe810 is a test for Columbus, Ohio-based DSW, said B. Riley & Co. analyst Jeff Van Sinderen.
"They really never played in the kinds of brands that they're going to have on Luxe810," he said. "It opens them up to customers that they probably didn't necessarily address before, at least for that kind of product -- brands like Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana. That's a true luxury customer." Products on the Luxe810 website yesterday included women's black Miu Miu suede peep-toe pumps for $799.95 (compare at $950), a black patent leather Gucci shoulder bag for $499.95 (compare at $1,018) and a Girard-Perregaux men's Laureato Evo 3 chronograph watch for $7,995.95 (compare at $14,800).
DSW's 364 stores, which average 22,000 square feet and carry about 24,000 pairs of shoes, do feature designer brands, but they fall into the "better" brand category.
"What they get in the regular DSW is customers who aspire to buy better brands such as Cole Haan at a discount," Van Sinderen said. "That may not be the best testing ground for elite designer brands." And high-end designers likely don't want their shoes mixed in with brands such as Skechers and Crocs at a DSW store.
DSW's dip into the luxury market via online sales requires less investment than for separate full-scale Luxe810 stores.
"It's possible, if it works, that maybe they decide to open one or two stores and test it under the Luxe810 brand," Van Sinderen said.
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