After an extensive renovation, Tod’s swung open the doors of a brighter and airier flagship at 650 Madison Avenue on Saturday.
The renovated Tod’s boutique on Madison Avenue houses men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, accessories and footwear collection, including Tod’s icons such as the Gommino and Di Bag, as well as the new T Timeless collection. The new 2023 holiday collection is being showcased in the boutique.
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In an interview Thursday, Roberto Lorenzini, chief executive officer of Tod’s Group, Americas, said the strategy was to create “a very elegant and modern atmosphere to showcase the full range of the product and the lifestyle of the brand.” He said the new space gives more visibility to the ready-to-wear and bags, together with the brand’s main category, shoes.
An oversized front window allows a better view of the brand assortment and display inside the boutique, said Lorenzini. Before, every window was almost like a stage and the total view was closed off.
In the previous design, the store was divided between men’s and women’s and there were several rooms connected to each other. “Now it’s a more open space which gives it a different feeling, it’s more modern and effective for the clients to understand the Italian lifestyle,” said Lorenzini.
The 2,400-square-foot boutique features a sleek and linear decor and interior walls covered in naturally tanned Vacchetta leather, a Tod’s signature material. With white travertine floors and 14-foot windows, the shop has an open, airy feel. Panels of Pietra Grigia di Vicenza stone float in front of walls to create a textured neutral background for products to be displayed.
While the height of the windows didn’t change, “it’s even more grand,” he said.
At the entrance, a floor-to-ceiling rosewood bookcase-style display serves as a backdrop showcasing a large travertine table designed by Angelo Magiarotti in 1971. Seating areas feature vintage armchairs by Corrado Corradi dell’Acqua and sofas that have been reinterpreted in Vacchetta leather and fabric.
Along the windows on 60th Street, a double-sided bookcase in mirrored stainless steel and leather showcases and juxtaposes ready-to-wear, shoes and handbags, using narrow screens in carved travertine tiles and leather creating backgrounds in the vitrines.
The store was designed by Bonetti Kozerski Architecture (BKA).
Some of these new design elements will be utilized in other stores around the U.S. “The concept marries very well the DNA of the brand and lifestyle and the elegance,” he said. While Madison Avenue is a flagship for Tod’s, it’s the first one with this concept.
Lorenzini said the company is actively looking for a second store downtown (Meatpacking or SoHo) and is currently involved in talks. The brand previously had a store in Hudson Yards, but doesn’t have it anymore.
Lorenzini said the store’s display is pretty evenly divided among ready-to-wear, handbags and shoes.
Asked what he anticipates will be holiday bestsellers, he replied, “We’re coming off a couple of years of good performances. We’re now seeing a huge growth in bags. The shoes are of course growing in a more organic way but the bags will be definitely a key point. The new store allows the full representation of the collection, so I think the ready-to-wear will be pretty important in terms of growth.”
The left side of the boutique is men’s and the right side is women’s. “Of course women’s has more bags than men’s, and it will be 60/40 in terms of square footage,” he said.
Tod’s presently has 12 stores in the U.S. and is looking to add more in markets such as the West Coast, Southeast and some resort areas. “The search takes a little bit of time to find the right location and right space. Some will come in the next couple of years, as soon as we find the right opportunity, we’ll definitely consider it,” he said.
Turning to current business, he said the brand in the U.S. is coming off a strong 2022, “and 2023 has been performing very well even though the flagship in Manhattan has been operating in a temporary space.” Despite that, retail is up single-digits, wholesale is growing very well, and e-commerce is up single-digits, he said.
He said Tod’s is expanding its wholesale distribution “and it’s getting a little more robust and the like-for-like growth has been very encouraging.” The brand sells at such stores as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s. He said they mostly carry the shoes, and very selective doors have the handbags.
Looking to holiday, Lorenzini said, “So far, there’s been a lot of uncertainty in the market, but we anticipate a good holiday season. The new store on Madison will create extra enthusiasm about shopping.” He said the stores throughout the year have had very good traffic. “At this stage, I want to be cautiously optimistic, and think we’ll be continuing a good trend,” he said.
He said the business does well on the East Coast, Florida and the South, such as Texas. “Florida and Texas have been the ones with the highest growth. New York has been revamping after the pandemic, and L.A. is performing pretty well,” he said.
As for what type of footwear is performing, Lorenzini said, “Boots are strong, moccasins, loafers and also the sneakers are doing very well. The sneaker for women is performing extremely well, and also for men, the sneaker has been an item that the client goes to.”
The Madison boutique will host the customization service My Di Bag, which allow clients to customize the iconic Di bag in various sizes and leather colors of their choosing in addition to adding a monogram or special lettering in select colors. Each customized bag will have DPP (Digital Product Passport) that assures the authenticity of the product and enables customers to access product certificates, origin, craftsmanship and journey from creation to purchase.
The Tod’s Group distribution network includes 344 directly owned stores and 94 franchise stores around the world. As reported, in the first nine months of the year, Tod’s home market of Italy posted growth of 8.2 percent compared with 13.1 percent in Europe, 25 percent in Greater China and 12.9 percent in the rest of the world. The Americas region declined by 0.5 percent, impacted partly by a handful of store closures and temporary store locations for the group’s biggest breadwinners, Tod’s and Roger Vivier.
When releasing the results, chief financial officer Emilio Macellar noted that while domestic sales in America have been “flat-ish,” demand from American tourists abroad has been “more than encouraging.”
In the first nine months, leather goods and accessories grew 19.5 percent while apparel sales were up 25.1 percent. Both outstripped shoes, Tod’s largest category, which grew by 12.3 percent.
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