Company History
Saks Fifth Avenue was the brainchild of Horace Saks and Bernard Gimbel, who operated independent retail stores on New York’s 34th Street at Herald Square in the early 1900s. Their dream was to construct a unique specialty store that would become synonymous with fashionable, gracious living. With the opening of its founders’ “dream store” in 1924, Saks Fifth Avenue became the first large retail operation to locate in what was then primarily a residential district. By offering the finest quality men’s and women’s fashions, as well as an extraordinary program of customer services, Saks Fifth Avenue has become synonymous with taste and elegance.

Case Study Concept
Saks Fifth Avenue New York continues to expand its men’s offerings, with a recent renovation the 6th and 7th floor. Historically, Saks Fifth Avenue, which is perceived as a women’s brand, has faced challenges in attracting men’s clients. Saks has asked the students to study the current customer base & offerings and propose new ways to attract men’s customers into the store.

Design, Business and Marketing Plan Solution
With a three-step analysis approach including a self, customer and competitive analysis, the students concluded that one of the strongest components of the identity of the Saks Fifth Avenue Men’s Store lies in its New York location. Utilizing findings from primary research, including a focus group and online surveys, they developed three themes centered around the New York concept: (1) The New York Lifestyle, (2) In a New York Minute, and (3) The City that Never Sleeps. Within these three themes, Saks Fifth Avenue could execute specific events to not only attract new customers, but also help retain its current customer base, reinvigorating their desire to shop at the Saks Fifth Avenue’s Men’s Store. The presentation highlights the “Ambassador of Style” campaign that the students developed, wherein Saks would select an Ambassador to promote the service and products of the Men’s Store. The Ambassador would invite his social and professional friends and contacts to a cause-related, on-site event, with donations of sales going to the Ambassador’s charity. Saks would attract new customers by gaining access to the Ambassador’s community and strengthening overall brand awareness within this network.

Additional services promoting the New York component of the Saks’ brand include an on-site tailoring service, in which Saks would offer customers customized suit tailoring to selected organizations. As part of the “In a New York Minute” concept, an innovative product line could offer New York sophistication and functionality, consisting of pens and a keychain with memory storage, allowing the “on the go” customer to save time. In summary, the students’ proposal ties in and strengthens the New York theme with Saks Fifth Avenue, re-energizing the Men’s Store to existing and new customers through creative marketing solutions and products.

The Saks Fifth Avenue Men’s Store Project Team
Mohamed Badr, Columbia Business School
Jaya Boppana, Columbia Business School
Jessica Chin, Columbia Business School
Shin Kitsuda, Columbia Business School
Kenneth Suh, Columbia Business School

Joel Calumpong, Parsons The New School for Design
Amelia Lnu, Parsons The New School for Design