Can Saks Off 5th Fill the Void Daffy’s Left?

March 10, 2016 by Lila Delilah

Last week, Saks Fifth Avenue debuted their first outlet store in Manhattan in the space formally occupied by Daffy’s, on East 57th Street. Saks Off 5th hopes to modernize off-price retailing by incorporating a designated space for Gilt flash sales and filing showcases with uber-luxury items like pre-owned Hermes bags and Rolex watches.

We couldn’t help but ask if Saks’ parent company, Hudson Bay, can fill the void that Daffy’s left when they closed all of their stores in 2012. Lets jump in and see if we can answer the question.

There is no doubt that Saks Off 5th is ideally located. It’s nestled between four of the world’s most illustrious retailers– Barneys, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman. The are no lack of shoppers within the ten block or half-mile radius.

The success of Off Fifth, however, will depend on the merchandise and the discounts provided to their customers. The Gilt in-store concept is located prominently at the foot of the escalator. The space is brightly lit and includes a obligatory classic Gilt countdown clock that indicates the beginning of the next sale. We are told that flash sales that start at noon each Wednesday. Off 5th’s Gilt department kicked off with Zadig & Voltaire and on Wednesday an assortment of beachwear caftans and sun dresses occupied the space.

The Gilt concept is actually genius as it has the potential to continually bring customers back into the store and create excitement beyond the discounter’s seasonal shipments of merchandise. We are sure that future Gilt sales will generate the excitement of a seller sample sale.

Beyond the Gilt shop-in-shop, customers can also set their fancy towards display cases of pre-owned Hermes bags, scarves, jewelry and accessories. Luring the aspirational shopper with cases of vintage Hermes is becoming increasingly popular. Retailers from Barneys to Mango have started to use Hermes as a way of stimulating the aspirations desires of their customer’s.

Moving beyond these promotional concepts, our Off 5th investigation started in the handbag section. We found a whole table of Moschino bags reduced about 50% off. Totes are priced at $140 from $265. On another designer focused table we spotted a Proenza PSII for $1400 from $1990 (just 30% off) and a denim tote for $300 from $550 (about 50% off).

The shoe department is where we found the most exciting assortment of merchandise. The downside was that the best items were discounted the least. It’s not unheard of for a store to debut with exceptional product. As a matter of fact we think some items are a product of the store opening. For example, we found a great assortment of Valentino Rockstud shoes and boots but the discounts were most stingy first markdown at the full price store. For example, green and white Rockstud heels are $830 from $1045 (that’s just 20% off).  Red flat Rockstuds are priced at $879 from $1095 (18% off) and these exact Noir Rockstud biker boots are $1260 from $1575 (20% off). You can click here to see more of the Valentino assortment.

Beyond shoes of the studded variety, there are plenty of Giuseppe Zanotti, Todds, Lanvin, Dolce & Gabbana and Alaia shoes from which to choose. Discounts are on a case-by-case basis. The best deals we found were of the Lanvin and Miu Miu variety, which were clearly past season shoes from Saks Fifth Avenue. Lanvin suede low top sneakers are about $260 from $645 (60% off) and Miu Miu sandals were priced at $212 from $850 (75% off). Most Giuseppe shoes are priced between 50% and 60% off but one far out pair of high boots were reduced to $720 from $2250 (70% off). The Todds shoes are 50% off. Driving moccasins are $320 from $625. You can see lots more pictures and price examples in the jump.

We were disappointed while sorting through the designer clothing. We can assume that all the press tours and opening celebrations depleted the most attractive merchandise. The most plentiful brands are Armani, Akris and St. Johns. Other racks were operated by designer and included a few pieces from a variety of big names like Gucci, Givenchy, Dolce & Gabbana and Fendi. A floral Dolce & Gabbana dress is reduced 75% from retail and comes to $830 from $2900, a leather Fendi skirt with cutouts is 60% off or $1940 from almost $5000 and a Givenchy blazer is reduced 75% or $790 from $3150. (Click for more pics.)

As with all discount stores, you will find an abundance of contemporary brands like Vince, DVF and Theory. We just wish that off-price stores would limit the amount of made-for-discount designer clothing and start sourcing great quality non-designer merchandise. Daffy’s was famous for its no-name European crafted inventory. Thees days there is a whole movement of companies like M. Gemi and Everlane that produce top quality fashion for no-frills prices. Saks Off 5th could benefit from a smattering of this new wave.

If you move back up to the sunglasses section you will find the best deals in the store. As a matter of fact, the assortment is so large and the discounts are so great that it’s a wonder why anyone would ever pay full price for sunnies. We found entire sections dedicated to Celine, Fendi, Prada, Miu Miu and Gucci. A pair of studded Prada glasses are reduced to $120 from $275, Celine frames are $150 from $400 and Miu Miu glasses are $240 from $275.

While we continue to morn the loss of Daffy’s we must remember that it wasn’t all perfect. There was the merchandise that made no sense and the inventory that was just bad. Overall, we are thrilled to have Off 5th within walking distance of our neighborhood and look forward to stalking these items whose prices are not yet where we would like them to be.

Giuseppe $400 from $900

Giuseppe $300 from $710

Alaia $440 from $1760

Dolce $180 from $600

Saint Laurent $890 from $1400

Tods $290 from $525

Lanvin $260 from $645

Guiseppi $719 from $2250

Valentino $830 from $1045

Valentino $700 from $875

Versace $690 from $1725

Valentino $880 from $1095

Valentino $343 from $1145

Valentino $1260 from $1575

Chloe $236 from $795

Dolce & Gabbana $740

Givenchy $790 from $3150

Stella McCartney $278 from $700

Versace $300 from $1200

Pucci $1324 from $5300


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