Company History
Saks Fifth Avenue was the brainchild of Horace Saks and Bernard Gimbel, independent retailers who dreamed of constructing 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 launched a new logo & DNA pattern in January 2007. With this change, Saks Fifth Avenue intends to create an enduring logo for the future by drawing upon its rich heritage. Students were asked to generate product ideas using the new Saks Fifth Avenue logo & DNA pattern.


Design, Business and Marketing Plan Solution
The objective of our project was to elevate and differentiate Saks as an iconic NYC shopping destination, as well as increase revenue through the creation of DNA logo products. Based on various data sources including store visits, customer research, competitor landscape research, and store associate focus group interviews, we defined our main target customers for the logo products as the core customer, the experienced tourist, and the new tourist. After researching the characteristics of these different groups, we created two distinct product lines to meet each customer group’s respective needs.

Through the core customer survey, we realized that store experience is one of the key factors affecting the image of luxury department stores. As a result, in addition to the two product lines, we developed an in-store logo integration plan focused on updating facilities, in-store decorations and packaging, and incorporating the logo into the Café, makeup counters and bathrooms. In order to target the price conscious new tourist, we redeveloped the permanent collection. This collection is focused on bold, well-designed logo products that fall into the grab and go gift category, at an accessible price point. We came up with the “Very Saksy” tagline for our marketing campaign, which will be focused on buzz and gorilla marketing tactics during the holiday season. To target the core customer and experienced tourist group, we created the 12 Months of Saks concept, which provides high-quality, co-branded, limited quantity products for each month with the “Saks in the City” marketing campaign.

Integrating the creativity of Parsons students and the business sense of Columbia Business school students, we could learn the importance of harmony between art and business, one of the essential factors for success in the luxury industry.


The Saks Fifth Avenue Project Team
Emily Gerne, Columbia Business School
Kamilah Jackson, Columbia Business School
Bang-Sil Lee, Columbia Business School
Stephanie Nadeau, Columbia Business School
Masayo Park, Parsons The New School for Design
Hannah Park, Parsons The New School for Design
Jesse Resnick, Parsons The New School for Design