There's lots in store at the new Saks Fifth Avenue in The Galleria, including a large cocktail bar on the first floor, a spiral staircase leading to the second floor, a women's department featuring 22 designer boutiques, a cosmetics department with 15 specialized brands, an expanded shoe salon and a restaurant with a private entrance.
"It's going to be a very, very special store," vice president and general manager Bobby Dees told a gathering of the Houston fashion press at a dinner at Fleming's Tuesday night to reveal details of the new Saks.
With so many boutiques within the new store, "it's almost like a museum with a modern twist, with elements of color and surprise," Dees told CultureMap. "I think it's going to be very inviting and stimulating to the consumer. The new store represents the best Saks has to offer in store design and it brings a new element of shopping in Houston. This is a very important market for us."
The two-story, 210,000-square-foot store, currently under construction, will officially open on April 28 with an official ribbon cutting following a VIP dinner co-hosted by Town and Country magazine and Houston Grand Opera on April 26 and a cocktail reception on April 27 benefiting MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Erdem Moralioglu, the designer of the hip ready-to-wear brand Erdem, will be the special guest at the opening festivities.
The current Saks store will close on April 20 at 6 pm as workers move merchandise into the new store next door. "It's the biggest move of this type ever done at Saks," Dees said. An additional 40 sales staff will be hired for the new store, he added.
Other features Dees touted are:
- The men's department will be moved to the first floor of the new store, along with women's shoes, handbags, jewelry and cosmetics.
- The cosmetics department will encompass 20,000 square feet, with such boutiques as Kilian, Chanel and Gucci (one of only five Gucci beauty spots in North America).
- Among the expanded offerings is a Christian Louboutin boutique, the first outside of the Saks New York flagship store.
- The Fifth Avenue Club, which features personal shoppers and private dressing rooms, will have more of a residential feel, with sofas and chairs instead of a desk at the entrance and eighth fitting rooms. "It's not about how much money you spend; it's a service for everyone," Dees said.
- The expanded women's designer department on the second floor will include boutiques featuring such noted designers as Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Dries van Noten, Azzedine Alaia, Altuzarra and Proenza Schouler.
- Valet parking will be available at the Westheimer entrance, with underground parking underneath the store, accessed either at Westheimer or Sage.
Once the new Saks opens, the current store will be demolished to make way for an expanded corridor with 35 stores and four destination restaurants, said Galleria director of markeing Andrew Huang.
Other parts of the massive mall are undergoing renovation, including the installation of gleaming new white marble floors in much of Galleria I and II and plans for new escalators and an opened-up gathering space near Tiffany & Co. and Neiman Marcus.
Dees said the Houston Saks store currently ranks No. 3 in sales among the 38 stores in 22 states, behind New York City and Beverly Hills "and our goal is to overtake the Beverly Hills store."