Company History
Saks Fifth Avenue was the brainchild of Horace Saks and Bernard Gimbel, who both operated independent retail stores on New York’s 34th Street at Herald Square in the early 1900s. With the opening of its founders’ “dream store” on September 15, 1924, Saks Fifth Avenue became the first large retail operation to locate in what was then primarily a residential district.


Case Study Concept
Saks Fifth Avenue wants to continue expanding its appeal to a younger, affluent clientele within the audience reachable by the Saks Fifth Avenue New York store. Students must present their customer research and marketing strategy with non-traditional advertising and outreach concepts. Students will also present event concepts that appeal to the contemporary target audience.

Design, Business and Marketing Plan Solution
To achieve an incremental 30% sales increase over plan in August to October 2005 on the fifth and seventh floors of Saks, the Saks Fifth Avenue project team devised three campaigns: Fifth on Fifth Club, Key Campaign and Catalog for Men. The Fifth on Fifth Club appeals to the exclusive shopping environment that our target market desires. It is an exclusive club, limited to 150 members. Top sales associates will identify their best 50 customers, who will then invite two friends to join. The Club will feature private shopping nights with complimentary alcoholic beverages and personal stylists. Events will take place the last Thursday of each month.

The Key Campaign is designed to generate buzz and mystery. The campaign will center on the website,, and will feature three main events. Each event will have a unique theme that brands Saks as fashionable, hip and iconic. August 2005 will feature the theme Key to the Season, branding Saks as THE fashion destination. September’s theme, Key to the City, ties Saks to its strong heritage in New York City. October’s theme, Key to the Cure, leverages Saks’ current charity event and relationship with Mercedes. The key program for men includes sending 8,000 Vespa scooter keys to targeted 24-36 year old male recipients in Manhattan. Recipients can come into the store on the 7th floor to see if their key starts a scooter to win

A special catalog will be customized for the younger male target audience. In addition to highlighting best-selling items for men, the catalog will feature short articles on men’s grooming, sex, health, fitness and lifestyle.

In addition, the team recommends several long term initiatives. For the men’s department, introducing stronger masculine cues, as well as a growing emphasis on accessories and grooming supplies was recommended. A new gift section, dubbed “What a Girl Wants” will highlight the 15 top selling gift items for girlfriends and wives. Finally, improved signage will be available to provide more information to the male shopper.


The Saks Fifth Avenue Project Team
Shira Carmi, Columbia Business School
Dave Kahng, Columbia Business School
Ellen La, Columbia Business School
Susan Levy, Parsons School of Design
Isha Siraj, Columbia Business School
Sung Yoo, Parsons School of Design
Elizabeth Zeltser, Columbia Business School