VMSD - July 2012 - (Page 32)

agship reens Fl Walg In With the New Join VMSD for a tour of must-see retail as IRDC returns to the Windy City. By Betsy Smith, Contributing Writer If change is good, 2012 looks to be a banner year for Chicago retail – and for IRDC attendees seeking fresh inspiration come September. In January, Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens debuted a decidedly upscale State Street flagship that’s more department store than drugstore, employing manicurists, a barista, a sushi chef and a full-time “health guide” in the pharmacy. A month later – on Valentine’s Day – Urban Outfitters’ bridal concept BHLDN opened a block away from Chicago’s luxury corridor, Oak Street, where brands such as Vera Wang, Tory Burch, Escada and Y-3 have also set up shop. On Michigan Avenue, fast fashion is driving growth as Forever 21, H&M and Zara compete with British sensation Topshop, which arrived in September with a glitzy, 49,000-square-foot flagship in the corner space formerly occupied by Borders. And this summer, Target unveils its urban format, CityTarget, in the ornate, Louis Sullivan- CityTarg et at Sulliv an Cent er designed Carson Pirie Scott Building, a U.S. Historic Landmark now known as Sullivan Center. As new retailers settle into premium spaces left vacant by the Great Recession, others are seizing the opportunity to downsize. “Chicago retail is still in recovery mode,” says Neil Stern, senior partner at Chicago-based retail consultancy McMillanDoolittle. “We’re seeing a square footage rationalization trend as established brands work to remain competitive. The Ann Taylor move on the Mag Mile is one example.” In March, the 58-year-old women’s apparel chain moved its Michigan Avenue store from a 10,400-square-foot corner space to one about half that size on the same block. The move coincided with the rollout of its new boutique concept, a residential-inspired layout with luxe finishes, multi-channel touchscreens for accessing products online and a proprietary lighting system in the fitting rooms. So that’s yet another store to check out during IRDC, held September 5-7, at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown. In the meantime, peruse these inspiring places to eat, drink, shop and explore, as recommended by Chicago’s retail design community. Betsy Smith is principal at Betsy Smith Worldwide (Cincinnati), providing copywriting and consulting to creative businesses in retail, hospitality, interior, graphic and interactive design. http://irdconline.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of VMSD - July 2012

VMSD - July 2012
Contents
From the Editor
VMSD Editorial Advisory Board
The Goods
The Wow Factor
Brewing at Starbucks
Timeless Elegance
In With the New
Showroom - Mannequins
Showroom - Props & Decs
Ad Index
Checking Out

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