Retail Refugees

July 27, 2011, 4:17 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Retail Refugees is on an indefinite break and will return some time in the future…

London Nike Town Re-opening…
November 24, 2010, 1:17 pm
Filed under: Art/Design, Fashion, Stores | Tags: , ,

London’s flagship Nike Town has been re-opened after some pretty extensive renovations over the summer and last few months… Check it out below:

J. Crew Sold for $3billion
November 24, 2010, 1:15 pm
Filed under: Fashion, Market Info | Tags:

J.Crew will be acquired by two investment firms for $3 billion, according to a document released moments ago by the preppy-chic retailer. (We first reported on this Monday night–click here for some background.)

This will allow CEO Mickey Drexler and co. to fix what’s wrong with the business–and build on what’s right–without having to deal with public shareholders.

“It is a clear endorsement of J.Crew and of the hard work and commitment of each and every one of our associates,” Drexler said of the agreement. “As I have always said, we are in this for the long term and we do what we do day in and day out so we can deliver the best possible products to our customers.”

(via Fashionista)

Gap Milan and Valentino Collab
November 23, 2010, 1:07 pm
Filed under: Fashion, Market Info, Stores | Tags: , ,

The official news is that Italy’s fashion capital Milan opened its arms to mass Americana over the weekend with the grand opening of adjoining Gap and Banana Republic flagships. The big news for us though is the opening hails the launch of an exclusive limited-edition Valentino x Gap collaboration. Don’t get too excited though. The collab is only available in Europe: select Gaps in Rome and Milan, plus Paris’ Colette and London’s Gap flagship and designer emporium Dover Street Market. (via Racked)

Valentino x Gap via Fashionista

I.T. Beijing Market
November 16, 2010, 4:27 pm
Filed under: Market Info, Retail Events | Tags: , ,

Looks like Comme des Garcons genius Rei Kawakubo is setting her sights on China…

Is this Dover Street Market 2.0? WWD reports that Rei Kawakubo is set to open a 19,000 square foot multi-brand emporium called I.T. Beijing Market in, um, Beijing, China, on December 29th. The four-story space will stock Comme as well as other labels including Alaia, YSL, Ann Demeulemeester, and A Bathing Ape.

And that’s not the end of CDG’s retail expansion in Asia. Kawakubo plans on opening a 32,000 square foot store called Ginza Komatsu Market in Tokyo next year. WWD reports that “the product mix will be half Comme des Garcons brands, the rest invited and curated by Kawakubo in collaboration with Komatsu.”

A new Comme des Garcons flagship will also bow in Tokyo in January. The brand will open a 4,500 square foot store in the Marunouchi district. Early reports say the location will include a 2,000 square foot branch of Paris’ Rose Bakery. (via Racked)


Sleeping Bags
November 16, 2010, 4:07 pm
Filed under: Art/Design | Tags: , ,

If you’re looking for a stylish carrier for your ethical shopping, look no further than “Sleeping Bags” latest collection…

This autumn sees the launch of Sleeping Bags, a breakthrough social enterprise that produces beautiful and ecologically sound bags made from recycled luxury hotel bed linen. Inspired by the product they are intended to replace: plastic bags, the product concept was developed by a collective of London’s leading designers, including Tom Dixon and Oonagh O’Hagan.

“Twice a year Sleeping Bags collaborates with established and emerging artists and designers, commissioning original artworks on a theme rooted in the brand concept, ‘The Secret World of Beds’. The work is then showcased on the bags, making up each season’s collection, whilst at the same time creating limited edition pieces of art. Sleeping Bags’ launch theme is ‘In My Dreams’ and contributions come from Jason Bruges, Vicki Murdoch, Avsh Alom Gur, Sir John Hegarty, David McCandless, Vicki Murdoch and Oonagh O’Hagan. Previewing from November with Vicki Murdoch’s design in four colour-ways, additional ‘In My Dreams’ artworks will be released on bags over the coming months.

Made in London from retired bed linen sourced form the capital’s luxury hotels, Sleeping Bags provides an environmentally friendly choice for the style conscious and aesthetically minded.

Check out the details here!

   Vicki Murdoch - In My Dreams for Sleeping BagsWhat excites or delights you about the Sleeping Bags concept?
“The concept for these bags is both beautiful and positive, anything that helps save waste and cut down on the production and use of plastic bags should be supported and encouraged. I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Tell us about your In My Dreams design – the story and inspiration?
“My design for ‘In your dreams’ comes from just that, my dreams, Sometimes when I’ve had an exceptionally strange one, I like to jot it down in a small book I keep by my bed. This particular dream that I based my design on was about a couple of cross dressing pigeons that I happened to hang out with one evening, nothing much happened but we got on really well.”
Tell us one of your bedtime secrets or about a favourite dream “It wouldn’t be a secret if I told you.”Vicki is an illustrator and founder of Silken Favours, bespoke printed silk scarves of exceptional quality, hand drawn and finished in London.              

Where to buyOur range is available to buy now online from Lost Values. Selected designs will be available to buy from leading hotels including The Zetter (from November 10) and St Martins Lane (from January 10).    

Barneys Gourmet Holiday Windows
November 2, 2010, 1:11 pm
Filed under: Advertising, Art/Design, Stores | Tags: , , , ,

Simon Doonan, Creative Director for Barneys New York, has just unveiled designs for one of the first holiday window displays of the season… With the tagline, “Have a foodie holiday” and paying respect to icons of gastronomy like Jean-Georges, Jaime Oliver and Julia Child, the first glimpse includes a scene created from Illy coffee packaging and accessories.  Looking forward to lunch… I mean, the holiday season!

“I’m interested in the dissonance between fashion and food,” said Doonan. “Whenever we do an event, the fashion people say, ‘No food please. Let’s just serve vodka.’ But our customers are much more interested in Bobby Flay and Keith McNally than in Lindsay Lohan or the Kardashians. Chefs are definitely the new celebrities.” (via The Moment)

Visit Barneys

Harry & David Pop-up Orchards
October 19, 2010, 11:57 am
Filed under: Retail Events, Stores | Tags: , , ,

Anybody familiar with Harry & David will have a tough time arguing that the onslought of mail-delivered fruit baskets does not signal the coming fall and holiday seasons.  With this in mind, H&D have announced their latest retail innovation- the pop-up orchard!

“Harry & David is a gift-giving tradition around the holidays. This year the company famous for its fruit and other mail-order delectables is opening up “pop-up orchards” in neighborhoods around the country. The stores were inspired by Harry & David’s home in Oregon’s Rogue River Valley and feature Harry & David’s new customizable options, such as the “Create Your Own” Bento Box, in addition to Harry & David favorites including new flavors of Moose Munch snacks. The holiday collections will feature exclusive wines, artisanal cheeses, baked goods and of course, fresh fruit. Harry & David is also offering special pricing at the rate of $19.34 on select holiday items to commemorate their anniversary year.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to launch our Pop-Up Orchard concept just in time for the holiday season,” says Steve Heyer, who has the title of Chief Happiness Officer. “It’s a unique platform for us to share our rich brand heritage and showcase our farm-to-table expertise while engaging with consumers across the country’s most bustling cities for the first time.”

The stores will be open through January 2011. A store locator is available on the Harry & David website. Locations include the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City in Arlington, Virginia; at the Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta, Georgia; at Beachwood Place in Cleveland, Ohio; at Cherry Creek Mall in Denver, Colorado and on Greenwich Ave in Greenwich, Connecticut.”

(via Luxist)

Marais, Paris
October 7, 2010, 12:43 pm
Filed under: Art/Design, Fashion, Market Info, Retail Events, Stores | Tags: , , , ,

T Magazine’s The Moment blog had an interesting look at Paris’s Marais district today exploring some of the interesting shops, restaurants, and other sites.  Take a look if you have any plans to visit the city of lights anytime in the near future.  Definitely a must see for shopping and eating, the retail scene seems to be among the most innovative in the city.

For a long time now, the Haut Marais has attracted indie boutiques and avant-garde designers. More and more, they’re foreign-born. The American modernist Jack Henry made his home at 25, rue Charlot, which is just down the street from Plagg, Barbara Kurdziel’s shop devoted to Scandinavian fashion, which is just down the street from the Korean designer Moon Young Hee’s whimsical atelier. And just around the corner on rue de Vielle du Temple, the New York design collective Surface to Air opened its new flagship featuring edgy-urbane men’s and women’s fashion. Foreign flair is suddenly everywhere, and for a city that’s infamous for resisting change, it’s a welcome infusion.

The latest international arrival is Koko. After years of talking about it, and then a year of red tape and on-the-ground planning, the New Zealand expat Catherine McMahon is opening Paris’s first and only store devoted to Kiwi goods. McMahon was often complimented when she wore clothes designed by her compatriots, but, she says, “I realized not many people know anything about Kiwi fashion.” When her boutique opens on Sept. 17, it will be her mission to familiarize the locals with names like Karen Walker, Kate Sylvester and Trelise Cooper.

The neighborhood’s worldliness isn’t only the result of boutiques and designers. Merce and the Muse delighted French coffee snobs this summer with its in-house brew, which the American owner went all the way to Denmark’s Coffee Collective to learn. And then there’s Mary Quarta — next door to Merce, both a bread-crumb trail from Koko — an Italian who started scooping up divine cones of Nutella and stracciatella gelato this past season. The French will never lose their taste for espresso at zinc counters and macarons at the salon de thé, but global flavors go down easy, too.

DESCRIPTIONCyrille Weiner The Surface to Air store in Marais.

Inside look at the new Jean Nouvel H&M, Paris
October 7, 2010, 12:40 pm
Filed under: Art/Design, Stores | Tags: , , ,

Images from Arkitip’s Intel blog

Maison Martin Margiela E-shop
October 5, 2010, 12:04 pm
Filed under: Fashion, Stores | Tags: , ,

Maison Martin Margiela has followed suit to a new crop of luxury brands with online e-commerce sites as they have launched their new online home where users can purchase a large portion of the current collections…

“In celebration of the anticipated e-boutique, the fashion house is releasing an indigo denim jacket; a much celebrated piece amongst the MMM’s archive. The store, which opened its virtual doors recently, will of course be a hub for fans to discover the latest news and information about the brand and its products, as well as serving as a shop which will allow fans across the globe to purchase their favourite pieces from their own home.” (Hypebeast)

maison martin margiela e boutique 01 Maison Martin Margiela E Boutique Opening

Shrine to Sneakers
October 4, 2010, 12:45 pm
Filed under: Art/Design, Fashion, Stores | Tags: , , , ,

Sure, those $500 limited-edition Nike Dunks won’t be on shelves for long, but while they’re there, they’re a challenge to display properly. So many sneaker-freaker stores put these high-class kicks behind glass, on pedestals, in a way that’s far too precious for shoes: In all honesty, you just want to be able to see the goods. At the newest store of Barcelona sportswear company Munich, located in Valencia, Spain, sneakers are finally given the respect — and the shelving — they deserve.

Dear Design, a Barcelona-based firm, took the reins (laces?) on the project, building what’s essentially a stadium for shoes. Instead of trying to replicate some display form for another luxury product, they came up with a language of their own, a cool X-motif based on Munich’s logo (which also kinda looks like gothic pointed arches, the waffled-sole underside of a shoe, and maybe a basketball net).

(via Fast Company)

J. Crew X New Balance
October 4, 2010, 12:40 pm
Filed under: Fashion | Tags: , ,

Frank Muytjens’s latest collaboration for J. Crew is with legendary US snearker company, New Balance.  The special edition 1400 sneaks (available at the NYC Liquor Store starting Nov 1) are in two never-before-seen colorways- navy, and moss green suade.  The kicks will be manufactured in NB’s Maine factory.

Test Restaurant Locations
September 30, 2010, 10:47 am
Filed under: Market Info | Tags:

Restaurants try out new menu items all of the time, but for diners who want to try the latest hamburger, latte or whatever new concoction that is being sold at their favorite place, finding a restaurant test location can be like going on a treasure hunt.

Many fast-food restaurants often change the locations where they’re testing new products in order to keep the item a secret or target customers from a specific demographic, said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, a food industry consultancy. Restaurant chains also try to find out what consumers would be willing to pay for the new items. There are 14 tiers of pricing in the industry, says Tristano, and companies may want to test a product in all of them — from the priciest market in New York City to the least pricey in Salt Lake City.

Finding New Products Near You

To determine whether a restaurant near you is testing a new product, keep your eyes open for “specials” and other signs that new products are available. Here are some current market tests:

  • Coca-Cola started testing the Freestyle 100-drink soda bar, a touchscreen soda fountain offering ten times as many drink offerings as your typical soda fountain, in Orange County, California in 2009. There are now machines in Georgia, Illinois, Texas and Utah. Check out the Coca-Cola’s Freestyle Facebook page to see where the company will be rolling the machines out next.
  • Starbucks is currently testing Refreshers (cold drinks made from green coffee) in San Diego for a limited time. Also, its Starbucks Reserve coffee, made from “single-origin” coffee beans, is being sold in test markets in metro areas across the country.
  • P.F. Chang’s is testing a new happy hour menu in Kansas City, Mo. If all goes well, the Yum Cha Menu, which includes sushi-style rolls and flatbreads, will also be tested in Scottsdale, Ariz. and other locations.
  • If you’ve seen fish tacos everywhere, you haven’t lost your mind. Many restaurants are adding the popular item and Taco Bell will be testing its own fish taco next year in stores nationwide.
  • McDonald’s and Burger King are both offering more premium-priced products, hoping to attract diners that are willing to spend a little more. McDonald’s is testing a $5 Smokehouse Deluxe hamburger in Ontario, and Burger King has installed higher-end Whopper Bars at locations in Orlando and Miami, Florida, as well as Memphis and New York.
  • Wendy’s is testing Natural Fries with the potato skins still on in several test markets. A manager at a Florida restaurant told Consumerist they’re getting rave reviews.
  • California Pizza Kitchen is testing touchscreen menus that let customers pay at the table. El Pollo Loco is also testing self-serve cash registers in Orange County, Calif.
  • Chipotle is testing a few things in a handful of locations around the country, including a roasted tomato salsa and a “garden blend” of vegan protein in New York, Washington, D.C., Denver, Sacramento and Los Angeles, says Chris Arnold, a spokesman for the Denver-based chain. Chipotle hasn’t changed its menu much in its 17 years of business. The last major menu change, says Arnold, was the addition of a salad, and a meal in a bowl instead of wrapped in a burrito.
See full article from WalletPop:

Drien van Noten menswear in Paris
September 30, 2010, 10:44 am
Filed under: Fashion, Stores | Tags: , ,

The menswear boutique boom continues to expand—both Ralph Lauren and J. Crew have opened high-profile men’s-only fashion stores in recent months—with Dries Van Noten opening his first men’s shop in Paris. The 1,076 square foot store is furnished with 18th, 19th, and 20th century objets and features the original 1970s rust-colored paneling, reports WWD.

To mark the occasion, Dries Van Noten unveiled his debut evening collection for guys. Sold exclusively at the Paris store, the collection boasts tuxedo jackets and trousers, silky tops and bottoms and a velvet dinner jacket (in a color resembling the shop’s fiery interior). A small one-of-a-kind accessories collection in a similar tone is also on sale.

Shop Lanvin Online
September 30, 2010, 10:41 am
Filed under: Fashion | Tags:

Lanvin has just launched the US only ecommerce site where shoppers can pick up items from the famed French house.

“The site stocks women’s and men’s clothing, shoes, and accessories—a pretty substantial percentage of the collection. And the fun, approachable, easy-to-shop layout is a lot more user-friendly than sites created by other luxury houses.” (Racked)


Too Little Too Late for Calvin Klein
September 29, 2010, 12:52 pm
Filed under: Fashion, Retail Events | Tags: ,

Is this 2007? Maybe somebody should inform Calvin Klein that pop-up shops are not longer the innovative productions that they used to be…  However, well-deserved praise to CK for the charitable motivation involved with this project.

Calvin Klein is opening its first-ever pop-up shop—in partnership with Carson Pirie Scott—in downtown Chicago on September 30th. The store will remain open for business through October 8th and will sell both men’s and women’s fall collections. A portion of sales will be donated to The Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation to support National Breast Cancer Awareness month.

The Calvin Klein pop-up will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on October 1st; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on October 2nd; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. from October 4th through October 8th. (Racked)

Digital Retail Roundup
September 29, 2010, 12:48 pm
Filed under: Fashion, Market Info, Retail Events | Tags: , , , ,

Donna Karan has just launched e-commerce on and relaunches after a total overhaul. “”Donna Karan New York and DKNY have always embraced the two sides of New York City—a limousine and a taxi, caviar and pizza,” Karan said in a statement. “This e-commerce site brings you both in one place. More than a place to shop, it’s a
complete brand experience, where commerce meets content with the style and
energy of New York City.” (Racked)


Gucci Goes Virtual: Suzy Menkes discusses the ways Gucci is using technology with Frida Giannini, the label’s creative director. (NYTimes)

Uniqlo releases video teasers on YouTube for their new collections featuring Charlize Theron and Orlando Bloom.

Mario Batali’s Eataly is Awesome
September 29, 2010, 12:31 pm
Filed under: Market Info | Tags: , ,

Ahh yes… food retail… the prize winning combination of two sources of experience and innovation have joined forces for one of the most impressive new “shops” in the world.
(via Eater) Mario Batali recently described his imported food hall Eataly as a “temple,” as a place where “food is more sacred than commerce.” And while a preview of the place last night revealed there will be a heck of a lot of commerce in this place, he may be right. When it comes down to it, Eataly is nothing short of epic, a giant Slow Food mecca of all things Italy. At its core, it’s a fancy Italian grocery store with individual retail departments offering the best of everything (pastry, bread, a butcher, a fishmonger, pasta, cured meats, cheese, hand-made mozzarella, etc.), some of which are directly connected to their own sit-down restaurants with waiter service.

Check out full details at Eater

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We’re Back!
September 29, 2010, 12:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Retail Refugees has returned from a sabbatical and is not ready to share with you “the things and places we buy”!

Entanced In-Flight Retail, by Virgin America
July 26, 2010, 12:17 pm
Filed under: Market Info | Tags: , ,

“In a move that will no doubt come as great news to shopaholics, Virgin America has officially launched touch-screen shopping as a new feature on its Red seat-back TVs.

It’s the first such digital shopping platform in the North America skies, the carrier says. You can browse hundreds of products and place orders from your seat, at 35,000 feet.  SkyMall is doing the merchandise, and while there hasn’t been much for fashionistas in the past from that outfit, there are some Michael Kors items at the seat-back Red Store including a tote ($268). Sony, Canon and Sharp are also among the many brands featured.

Purchases come with two points towards the airline’s Elevate Frequent Flyer Program for every one dollar spent.  The upgraded entertainment platform also adds next generation, enhanced terrain-view Google Maps so you can see the actual topography of the areas over which you’re flying.” (via AOL)

Tesla Retail
July 13, 2010, 12:02 pm
Filed under: Stores | Tags: , , ,

Tesla, the über cool electric car company, has hired Apple´s former retail guru to design their new showrooms.

Fast Company explains… Lucky for Tesla, then, that it snagged George Blankenship as its vice president of design and store development. Blankenship previously spent nine years working with Apple to amp up its retail strategy. Before that, he opened hundreds of stores each year for the GAP.

Blankenship is charged with helping Tesla expand from its network of 13 showrooms to 20 by the end of the year–and even more beyond that. While Blankenship has never before worked in the auto industry, he sees lots of similarities between his work in clothing and computing and his current position at Tesla. “This is about technology, innovation, and a great pipeline of products that need to be explained to the customer,” he tells “It’s just like when I was at Apple.”

The retail guru wants to do the same thing for Tesla. Whereas traditional auto dealerships are often in mammoth buildings that are set apart from retail districts, Blankenship hopes to put Tesla showrooms right in the thick of popular shopping locations.

But Tesla has a unique challenge: While consumers weren’t that excited about Apple when Blankenship came on board, Tesla practically has more hype than it can handle. The challenge is to make potential customers understand what Tesla is about. And that requires a comprehensive customer experience strategy.

“We want to figure out the best, most comfortable way to create an environment where people aren’t just looking at the car–they see how it’s part of their future,” Blankenship says. It won’t be easy.

Fast Food is disgusting…
July 12, 2010, 10:53 am
Filed under: Market Info | Tags: , , ,

The Carl´s Jr. Foot Long Cheeseburger…

Burger King Super Seven Incher…
Sonic Quarter Pound Chili Dog…
Click image for larger version    Name:	sonic coney.jpg  Views:	1358  Size:	80.5 KB  ID:	123

America´s Top Stores…
June 8, 2010, 11:13 am
Filed under: Market Info, Stores | Tags: , , ,

Consumer Reports released their annual customer satisfaction results from American retailers with some surprises at the top of the list…

1. Costco (85)
2. Dillard’s (82)
3. Kohl’s (81)
4. JCPenney (80)
5. Target (79)
6. Sam’s Club (78)
7. Sears (77)
8. Macy’s (77)
9. Meijer (77)
10. Walmart (73)

And below are some profiles of the top scorers… (click here to see the profiles of all top retailers)


414 warehouses in 40 states. $50 yearly fee. Costco has a wide range of goods but not a lot in each category. Private-label Kirkland Signature products are claimed to be at least as good as national brands, and all of Costco’s merchandise comes with a money-back guarantee.

How to Save
Costco doesn’t accept manufacturers’ coupons but sometimes distributes its own. Instant rebates are fairly common. Customers with an Executive membership ($100) qualify for 2 percent back on purchases, up to a top rebate of $500 per year. (You’d need to spend $2,500 to recoup the extra $50.)

Breaking news from Subway…
June 3, 2010, 11:45 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

After a lifetime of inefficient cheese placement thanks to a 3 year internet crusade, Subway could be re-designing their cheese distribution technique…

Three years ago, a Left-Handed Toons comic (seen after the jump) illustrated the insanity of Subway’s cheese distribution policy. The triangular cheese slices were lined up in a row with overlapping corners, and even worse, some parts of the sandwich were rendered cheeseless.

The comic kickstarted a small movement encouraging the sandwich chain to start alternating the orientation of their cheese slices, as seen in the image above, which would provide for a more equitable cheese distribution.

subway cheese
Well, there is an update regarding the matter…  See below
Whether or not this is just  regional thing, we do not know, but regardless, it is a great step for the sandwich shop…

June 2, 2010, 12:25 pm
Filed under: Market Info | Tags: ,

McDonalds has long been the spiritual home for many groups including unhealthy people, children, expatriots (present company included on all three accounts) but as a result of their revised 24hr opening policy in China, many Golden Arches are becoming the real home for certain marginalized people.

“Some Shanghai residents have started to take advantage of 24-hour fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and KFC, which offer uncomfortable yet reliable temporary shelter for people who can’t–or don’t want to–pay rent in the ultra-expensive city. Many of the McRefugees are employed, albeit with underpaying jobs in security, housekeeping, and hospitality. And apparently, restaurant officials are looking the other way. Shanghaiist explains in its translation of a Southern Weekly article:

In response to questions about people sleeping over at McDonalds, a spokesperson named Mr. Lu said the store “doesn’t explicitly allow it, but doesn’t explicitly disallow it.” But for all the stores in the Tianyaoqiao Lu area, KFC has the most serious McRefugee problem. “Because there’s sofas there, [McDonalds] only has hard stools. In the winter, people will even bring their blankets and bedrolls into the restaurant.” (Fast Company)

(image via Webshots)

Fast Company´s Most Creative Ppl in Business
May 31, 2010, 11:20 am
Filed under: Market Info | Tags: ,

While many individuals are struggling to compete and make themselves better/leaner/more efficient than everybody else, Fast Company has compiled their 2010 list of people who go against the grain in order to innovate and approach business creatively…

“This year’s 100 Most Creative People offers our own, idiosyncratic perspective on business. The selections reflect the breadth of news ideas and new pursuits at play in our business landscape. From interface designer Yugo Nakamura to HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins to futurist Ray Kurzweil, we can attest that creativity is alive and well in 2010.”

See the full list here

Monocle Shop in Tokyo
May 28, 2010, 12:08 pm
Filed under: Stores | Tags: ,

As their product lines seems to expand daily, so does the number of Monocle´s retail outposts…  Below are shots from the Tokyo shop.

New LV on Bond Street
May 28, 2010, 12:05 pm
Filed under: Fashion, Stores | Tags: , , , ,

Despite their not completely honest ad campaign, LV created a wave of positive feedback for their latest flagship store on Bond St. in London. “Entered via a bridge over a ‘moat’, its four outrageously luxurious floors include a VIP apartment, a ‘librairie’ of limited edition art and art books, revolving handbag installations and artworks by all the big guns, from Damien Hirst to Gilbert & George.”

(images from Wallpaper via Hypebeast)

Shame on Louis Vuitton
May 27, 2010, 11:48 am
Filed under: Fashion, Market Info | Tags: , ,

Several Louis Vuitton ads have been banned by the ASA (Advertising Standards Association) due to misleading customers about the craftsmanship involved in creating some bags and wallets…

Louis Vuitton has been ordered to sack two of its latest ads over claims that they mislead customers into believing that the hot handbags are hand-stitched.

One offending advertisement features a Cate Blanchett look-alike sewing the handle of a handbag, with the text, “The seamstress with linen thread and beeswax. A needle, linen thread, beeswax, and infinite patience protect each over-stitch from humidity and the passage of time.”

The other ad shows a woman making a wallet, with the questions, “What secret little gestures do our craftsmen discretely pass on? How do we blend innate skill and inherent prowess?”

The answer, apparently, is by machine.   According to the Daily Mail, the Advertising Standards Agency received complaints that the ads were misleading, so it challenged the folks at Louis Vuitton, who confessed that sewing machines were used to make their pricey purses because they made items “more secure and [were] necessary for strength, accuracy, and durability.”

woman stitching louis vuitton ad

(via Stylelist)

Yuck- Sushi in a Tube
May 27, 2010, 11:44 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Retail Refugees loves innovation in packaging and food concepts, but this just looks nasty…  Meet Sushi Popper

“We’re trying to change the norm of boxed foods,” said Furst, who serves as the company’s president. “We’re trying to open people’s eyes and say, ‘This isn’t just another frozen product — this is a frozen product that happens to be extremely good.’ ”

Each Sushi Popper includes eight pieces of precut sushi and a bit of wasabi wrapped inside an airtight tube. After opening the top of the tube, diners can add soy sauce from a small stick affixed to the packaging, and grab their first piece of fish. They reach the next piece by pushing up on the bottom of the tube.

“It took thousands of hours to develop something to hold the sushi, to make sure it pushes up correctly and make sure the soy sauce doesn’t leak,” Furst said. “It took us a lot of engineering time.”

According to Furst, the tubed snack is the perfect food for a nation on the go.

(via AOL)

Wanna buy some dead exotic animals?
May 27, 2010, 11:40 am
Filed under: Retail Events

Uncle Sam is having a clearance sale, and it’s heavy on genuine cobra-skin boots.  Also, python boots. Ostrich boots. And stylish footwear made from lizard, eel and kangaroo.  They all have to go as the federal government cleans out the National Wildlife Property Repository, a vast warehouse crammed with 1.5 million miscellaneous items containing bits of creatures great and small.

All the goods in the warehouse, from the shaggy Cape buffalo head to the beribboned walrus penis, have been seized at ports of entry by agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for violating laws regulating international trade in wildlife.

Warehouse supervisor Bernadette Atencio sends much of the contraband to schools, zoos and museums for exhibits. Ho-hum items that don’t have much educational value are destroyed; she recently sent dozens of lizard-trim eyeglass cases to the incinerator. Ms. Atencio also disposes of all the medicinal potions that cross her desk—and the occasional bug-infested trophy leopard.

But she can never catch up. The Congressional Research Service pegs the illegal trade in wildlife products at more than $5 billion and perhaps as much as $20 billion a year world-wide. Nearly 200,000 items came into the warehouse last year, overwhelming Ms. Atencio’s staff of four.

The solution? Clean house.  In a rolling online auction that started in February and will run through the summer, the Fish and Wildlife Service is selling off 300,000 items.  A dozen fur coats made from Siberian weasel sold for $4,450. A box of 270 acrylic key chains, each encasing “one small black salamander,” went for $35. There are table lamps made of clam shells, drums covered with unspecified mammal skin, watches festooned with mother-of-pearl. (via Wall Street Journal)

Not sure about you, but this is pretty creepy and I do worry that it could actually be detrimental to the ultimate cause; that is, to curb the trafficking of illegally killed (or illegal) wildlife products…

Issey Miyake shop by Nendo, Shibuya
May 26, 2010, 11:17 am
Filed under: Art/Design, Fashion, Stores | Tags: , , ,

From Fast Company

Last year, we told you about Nendo’s ultralight mobile display furniture for some inexpensive(ish) Issey Miyake stores in Tokyo. Six months on, the disgustingly talented Japanese design firm unveils a new concept: Fashion on pins and needles.

The displays — for a shop in Tokyo’s ur-trendy Shibuya area — are designed to show off Miyake’s Bilbao bag, an unstructured little confection that doesn’t hang so much as it settles into place. So rather than produce a hard, squat plinth for something that’s anything but, Nendo whipped up these rail-thin steel rods, each varying slightly in height; in Nendo’s telling, they resemble “a field of prairie grass.”

That or something you could prick your finger on. (Each rod is a little more than a quarter-inch thick — too wide, we assume, to do much damage.)

The bags fall over the rods willy-nilly, as if they were “flowers in a light breeze,” to continue the Great Plains similie here. The shelving and hangers echo the rods.

Nendo‘s Oki Sato has inspired envy in the hearts of lesser designers everywhere for his play with lightness and illusion, turning chairs into ghosts and clothing hangers into wire-frame sculpture. Read more about him here.

Caviar Vending Machines in Moscow
May 25, 2010, 11:13 am
Filed under: Market Info, Uncategorized | Tags: ,

A shiny red dispenser that looks like a soft drinks machine has been installed in the Moscow mayor’s office with more to follow in the country’s parliament.  The firm behind the luxury dispenser says 33 such machines have been installed across the Russian capital in government ministries and upscale office blocks.

The machine dispenses tins and glass jars full of red salmon caviar or roe, in varying portion sizes, costing from the equivalent of about £3.50 up to £15.  The more sought-after sturgeon caviar – varieties of which have been hunted to the brink of extinction and command a much higher price tag – is not for sale in the machines.  But at a time when Russia is still emerging from a deep economic crisis, publicity about the dispensers is likely to anger many.

Russians traditionally love caviar, sieved and slightly salted fish eggs, and spread the cheaper red variety on buttered bread, washing it down with sparkling Soviet ‘champagne’ on special occasions.  But the more expensive black variety is too expensive for most Russians and annual sales of wild black caviar are limited to about nine tons each year.

Caviar vending machine for Moscow's civil servants

Via Telegraph

Coccodrillo, Antwerp
May 25, 2010, 11:03 am
Filed under: Fashion, Stores | Tags: , ,

Spotlight on this legendary shoe shop.  Coccodrillo, the Antwerp shoe store with the worldwide reputation, has finally given men the floor. The boutique’s new location, directly across the street from the original, is dedicated to masculine footwear. “The store was getting too small,” said co-founder Geert Brulot. “Plus, designers were always asking us to split it up. So when the space became available, we decided to follow our heart.”

The men’s shop takes its cues from its sibling, with its Art Deco via Buenos Aires décor and dedication to high fashion. Right now, that means helping men navigate what Brulot feels is an increasing emphasis on adolescent, androgynous looks — “not something the man in the street can necessarily identify with,” as he diplomatically put it. So while names like Prada, Raf Simons and Dior are well represented, Brulot and his partner, Eddy Michiels, are also working with starchier cobblers like Church’s, which has reinterpreted its traditional brogues in bright colors for Coccodrillo.

Coccodrillo, Schuttershofstraat 8, Antwerp, +32 3 233 20 93.

<!– — Updated: 11:39 am –>

Ronald Stoops

Top Prestige Brands for Gen Y?
May 20, 2010, 12:15 pm
Filed under: Fashion, Market Info | Tags: , , ,

BMW held their regularly scheduled company meeting recently where boss Dr. Norbert Reithofer detailed the performance of the German automaker performance over the last year.  Aside from the standard financials, he made one interesting comment… that “BMW is the most prestigious brand among Generation Y. Generation Y refers to the young people born between the late 1970s and the year 1994 in the U.S. This consumer group has an annual spending capacity of 200 billion dollars – and the most prestigious brands to this young generation are BMW and Chanel.”

Is this true? As a proud member of Generation Y, I have to say that this may be accurate.  Both brands have achieved cult-like status, however, I would venture to say that BMW is more acceessible as a brand than Chanel.  Not only because Chanel caters to a female audience (excluding watches and perfumes), but also because the relative price point for a Chanel product is higher compared to its luxury goods counterparts, than BMW.  While BMW finds itself competing with brands ranging from Mercedes Benz and Audi to Lexus, Chanel is in a league of its own- perhaps only rivaled in prestige by Hermes and to a lesser extent Louis Vuitton.

What do you think?

Here is the full ranking according to L2 Gen Y Prestige Rankings

The list of brands scoring in the Gen Y Prestige Brand Rankings top 10 (by gender):

Gen Y Females: Gen Y Males:
1. Chanel 1. BMW
2. Ritz-Carlton 2. Ferrari
3. Four Seasons 3. Porsche
4. Marc Jacobs 4. Lamborghini
5. Cartier 5. Audi
6. BMW 6. Aston Martin
7. Mercedes-Benz 7. Four Seasons
8. W Hotels 8. Mercedes-Benz
9. Prada 9. Ralph Lauren
10. Audi 10. Ritz-Carlton

Speaking of Chanel, check out Resort Refugees recent trip to St. Tropez- where the latest Chanel fashion show took place…

Restaurants focus on small portions
May 20, 2010, 12:05 pm
Filed under: Market Info | Tags: ,

Have you noticed lately how the snacks section of a restaurant menu is getting bigger and bigger? The small-sized portions are apparently the hottest things sizzling up the restaurant industry. They are cheap, don’t leave you feeling stuffed and guilty and are available at hours outside of strict meal times.

A study released in March by food service research firm Technomic shows that many consumers are replacing meals with snacks. “There appears to be growing interest among consumers in more frequent, smaller meals,” said Erik Thoresen, director, product innovation. “Restaurants have taken notice and are working to meet this growing need.”   Since 2007, snack items skyrocketed 170%. According to Mintel, a market intelligence firm, it’s a trend that will continue. It’s probably one of the few ways that the restaurant industry can fight the still-painful economy.

“By innovating menus with various snacking options, restaurants can boost sales throughout the day and drive guest traffic during non-peak hours,” said Eric Giandelone, director of food service research at Mintel in a release.

appetizers.jpg appetizers image by Pinky8853

Full story from Wallet Pop

Prada contraversy in Japan
May 17, 2010, 1:59 pm
Filed under: Fashion | Tags: ,

A former retail manager at Prada Japan, Rina Bovrisse (pictured), has claimed that the retailer forced employees to buy Prada bags and other items in order to cover up the fact that sales were falling. Bovrisse faced the luxury retailer in complaint court in Japan. That case was ruled “unsettled,” and so a civil lawsuit was filed.

Bovrisse and two other former employees claim that, beginning in January 2009, the company forced its workers to purchase products. The sales could not be entered as employee purchases but had to be entered as a customer’s full price purchase. That way the purchases would give Prada Milan, the worldwide headquarters of the brand, the impression that Japanese stores were meeting their sales targets. Employees were then paid back out of funds that were to be used for the company’s holiday party and were marked as as “campaign” salary. But even then the employees were responsible for taxes on what was considered bonus pay and had to pay additional money. This situation limped along for a while and even after the reimbursements ran dry some Prada Japan employees were told that they needed to continue to purchase products or else the company would be forced to downsize. The requirements continued and Bovrisse says she personally bought $20,000 worth of products. Employees were strapped, they were struggling to pay their bills but were also scared that if they didn’t buy they wouldn’t have jobs. It’s unclear when if ever Prada Milan knew about the program but so far it has denied responsibility for the program.

(via Luxist)

Evolution of the Luxury Mall
May 17, 2010, 12:30 pm
Filed under: Market Info | Tags: , ,

Excerpt from the very interesting talk that Bill Taubman (COO of Taubman Centers of Bloomfield Michigan) at the Luxury Summit conference, held nearly two weeks ago in Las Vegas. (via Luxist)

You said in your Luxury Summit presentation, that the mall is evolving, but with a strong heart. What are the components of this strong heart?

Taubman: One component of the strong heart is understanding that the mall is a social environment, as much as it is a shopping venue. If you look at it this way, the mall is an area where people seek out people, talk, eat and purchase, so another component of the strong heart is the high end shopping experience. The luxury brand becomes the positive, memorable experience. It also becomes part of the consumer mindset and identity. The luxury mall is providing the environment so the brands can become all these things.
How do you see the luxury mall evolving in the next few years?

Taubman: I see the mall evolving into more of an experiential, educational, aesthetically pleasing area than it has been in the past. Of all companies right now, I think the Apple stores provide interesting clues to what the luxury mall physical environments may become in the next number of years. Apple decided they needed a mall environment to properly promote their brand — they could not do it on the web or in big boxes alone. In the Apple stores, you can try their latest products out, there is always someone there to answer questions, in many stores there are video presentations, demonstrations and of course, areas – the Genius Bar in Apple’s case – where more complex questions can be answered.

What we learn from this is how sophisticated the consumers have become, and how multidimensional their expectations, needs and wants have become as well.

Profile of an online shopper…
April 27, 2010, 10:51 am
Filed under: Market Info | Tags:

Permuto has put together some interesting graphics illustrating the attributes of the most common online shoppers…  Turns out if you are in your early-40s, a woman, make about $65,000 a year, and spend around $450 a year online, then the internet has got your number!

Other interesting stats show the breakdown if international ecommerce figures, frequency of online transactions and racial makeup of buyers.

Check out the graphic here…


Louis Vuitton goes LEED
April 26, 2010, 11:09 am
Filed under: Fashion, Stores | Tags: , ,

Louis Vuitton will open their first LEED certified boutique this August in Santa Monica at the upcoming Santa Monica Place shopping center.


Other shops joining LV will be Bloomingdales, All Saints, Ted Baker, Mikael Kors, and Burberry…

Visit Santa Monica Place

Ralph Lauren in Paris
April 26, 2010, 11:05 am
Filed under: Fashion, Stores | Tags: , ,

The internet and fashionistas have been buzzing about the new Ralph Lauren boutique in Paris which is home to the entire RL collection from Polo and RRL to Purple and Black Labels to the Home collection.  Even more appetizing is Ralph´s- RL´s first restaurant in Europe with real American cuisine by none other than Danny Meyer (from Shake Shack, Gramercy Tavern, The Modern…).

Here are some pics from Luxist of the new watch section at the RL Paris boutique which houses the brand´s relatively new collection…

This space is all about luxury and service. Feeling anything but a cold and uninviting retail space, the customer sits on a leather stool at a display case viewing the watches. Beautiful wooden tile floors are flanked by a homey environment complete with a mini library and friendly Ralph Lauren “family” pictures. High-end watches below your eyes and a chandelier above your head complete the luxury experience.

Given the nature of the brand, Ralph Lauren watches has found most of its sales occurring in-store at overall Ralph Lauren stores. The new tactic here is to be included in the overall store and Ralph Lauren atmosphere, but to have a slightly separated space given the more complex and intimate nature of selling expensive watches. (Luxist)

Yoli: Frozen Yogurt Craze hits Berlin
April 22, 2010, 3:35 pm
Filed under: Stores | Tags: , , , ,

At last…  While you lucky folks in the US have been enjoying your Pinkberry and Yogurtland for the last few years, we here in Berlin have been forced to  slum it with regular ice cream… 😦

With the newly opened Yoli, we have our very own frozen yogurt store!

IMG_4437 copy


IMG_4195 copy

“Music Loves You” at Colette
April 22, 2010, 2:09 pm
Filed under: Retail Events, Stores | Tags: , , , ,

A new exhibit kicks off at Colette called “Music Loves You”…   “Discover the films and photos of crowds and fans immortalized by Beck, Drew Carolan, Josh Cheuse, Lenny Kravitz, Nick Zinner, Philip Andelman, Poppy de Villeneuve, Stefano Giovannini. A tribute to all that contribute to make a live concert so special and unforgettable.”   Images below by Karl Hab (via Hypebeast)

colette music loves you recap 12 colette Music Loves You  Exhibition Recap

colette music loves you recap 5 colette Music Loves You Exhibition  Recap

colette music loves you recap 6 colette Music Loves You Exhibition  Recap

colette music loves you recap 9 colette Music Loves You Exhibition  Recap

Uniqlo rents highest NYC price ever!
April 20, 2010, 11:52 am
Filed under: Fashion, Market Info, Stores | Tags: , , , ,

In their bid to take over the world, Uniqlo has signed a lease for the highest rent ever in the history of NYC retail- USD300,000,000 over 15 years!
Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing Co., Japan’s biggest apparel seller, announced the deal today, with broker Cushman & Wakefield Inc. and landlord Crown Acquisitions disclosing the price. The space lies at 666 Fifth Ave. near 53rd Street.

“Uniqlo identified this location as being the one that they were willing to make the biggest bet on,” said C. Bradley Mendelson, the Cushman & Wakefield broker who represented landlords Carlyle Group, Crown Acquisitions and Kushner Cos. “They’re one of the biggest retailers in the world; they’re just small in the U.S.”

The contract shows Fifth Avenue’s appeal even after U.S. consumer purchases fell for two straight years, the first such decline since the 1930s. Fast Retailing entered the Russian market earlier in 2010 and plans to open its largest store in Shanghai next month.

(via Bloomberg)

Consumption movie for our times…
April 19, 2010, 11:41 am
Filed under: Advertising, Art/Design, Fashion, Market Info | Tags: , ,

In case you haven´t already seen the trailer or the movie, here is the preview of “The  Joneses”…  This is the new movie featuring David Duchovny and Demi Moore all about buying, spending and setting trends…

Levis makes new brand for China
April 19, 2010, 11:36 am
Filed under: Fashion, Market Info | Tags:

As the potential in China for retailers continues to grow, Levis is making news by introducing a completely new brand to the region.  With a lower price point (around $50) and strict Chinese distribution, I expect that this move will convince a lot of other brands to do the same.

From Levis Press:

The denim giant joins Hermès International in the push to develop a brand for China. The luxury firm has taken a majority stake in Shanghai-based Shang Xia, which is creating, manufacturing and will sell a collection of clothing, accessories, furniture and other lifestyle products using Chinese raw materials and artisanal know-how. The first Shang Xia store is to open this year in Shanghai.

Levi Strauss’ goal is to develop the new brand’s store base with an even balance of franchised units and company-owned units. The stores are expected to average about 1,000 square feet, which is similar in size to existing Levi’s stores in China. Shop-in-shops within department stores will showcase the brand, as well.

Like Levi’s other stores in China, the new brand’s shops will offer a “top-to-bottom experience,” Gimbel said, with an array of merchandise for men and women. The denim will feature Levi’s signature five-pocket design, but will have a “distinct style and flair,” he said. “There will still be that Levi Strauss & Co. authentic denim craftsmanship, but it will have its unique identity.”

Monocle Store: Hong Kong
April 13, 2010, 10:58 am
Filed under: Stores | Tags: ,

From SlamxHype:

Tailing off the recent success from their new store ventures opening in Los Angeles, London and Mallorca, Monocle sets their eyes on Hong Kong. Teaming together with Asian retailer Lane Crawford, Monocle are set to open their new store inside Lane Crawford on April 15th 2010. Offering seasonal collections and collaborations from Monocle the store will celebrate the first Asian home with a cocktail party for 1,000 subscribers, shoppers and Hong Kong friends.

Monocle Shop at Lane Crawford
Shop 126
88, Queensway
Admiralty, Hong Kong

Bright lights in retail darkness
April 13, 2010, 10:55 am
Filed under: Market Info, Stores | Tags: , , ,

While the majority of major retailers have been hit during the recession, Forbes reports that among others Apple, Amazon and Urban Outfitters have not only managed to stay afloat, but to do exceedingly well in recent times!

Apple, which has taken the retail world by storm with its own outlets. Customers regularly crowd into the small, cozy Apple Stores to scoop up Macs and iPods, vaulting Apple to the top of the industry for revenue per square foot. Apple Store sales have nearly doubled over the past three years to $9.6 billion. continues to roll up higher sales — almost 80 percent growth over the past three years — even though some industry analysts see the company maturing in the U.S. Once little more than an online bookseller, Amazon has become the go-to spot for shoppers looking for convenience and reasonable prices on a wide range of merchandise, including consumer electronics.

The casual dining sector is crowded and struggling, but some chains have carved out distinctive niches and rung up strong sales growth. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Texas Roadhouse and Buffalo Wild Wings have steadily opened outlets while growing revenue 47 percent to 61 percent since 2006. The keys: nice decor, friendly service, consistent food and, of course, low prices. Sounds simple enough, but too many chains trying this model fail to distract customers from the fact that they’re out for a discount meal.

Image: Urban Outfitters


Shopping Travel (Wallpaper* Retail Directory 2010)
April 12, 2010, 11:50 am
Filed under: Art/Design, Fashion, Retail Events, Stores | Tags: , , , ,
From our sister site, Resort Refugees…

Among top reasons for travel are experiencing new cultures, relaxation, and bonding with friends/family.  Though most would be less inclined to admit it, shopping is probably also at the top of the list.  As much as one tries to deny it, memories and photographs sometimes simply cannot provide a “real” and “tangible” enough souvnir for travellers, so shopping is the safest way to bring something home that will last.

Shop-aholics however need no longer be afraid to admit it.  With the new issue of Wallpaper* magazine, the style authority has released its annual “Retail Directory” which identifies the top of the heap in terms of retail design and innovation- and more importantly shopping that merits travel in itself!  Among our favorites are…

Missoni, Los Angeles
469 North Rodeo Drive
Beverly Hills
1.310 246 3060
Tiaan Nagel
Shop G14, 44 Stanley Avenue
27.11 482 5012
13 Place Georges Brugmann
Tel: 32.475 989589
7–15 Rosebery Avenue
Clerkenwell, EC1
44.20 3328 3560