Saks to return to Stamford Town Center
STAMFORD -- A year after shuttering the store it leased since the mall's opening in 1982, Saks Fifth Avenue is planning to return to Stamford Town Center in a new incarnation as Saks OFF 5th later this year.
Both Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks Off 5th are owned by Ontario-based Hudson's Bay Co. Saks OFF 5th will occupy 56,000 square feet of the anchor pad occupied by its predecessor store at Stamford Town Center. Saks Fifth Avenue had occupied more than 75,000 square feet at the mall.
It marks Connecticut's second Saks OFF 5th store along with one at the Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets in Clinton. Hudson's Bay also has a Saks Fifth Avenue department store on Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich, and runs the Lord & Taylor department store in Bull's Head.
The newer OFF 5th retail concept has easily outpaced Hudson's Bay's more venerable brands, with same-store sales at OFF 5th up 19 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, compared to single-digit increases at Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor.
The Saks Fifth Avenue departure was the first loss of an anchor tenant at Stamford Town Center since the 2006 closure of Filenes. Taubman Centers eventually redeveloped that piece of the property as a restaurant row; at Danbury Fair Mall, owner Macerich similarly chose to break up its Filene's space for smaller retail stores, which today include L.L. Bean, Dick's Sporting Goods and Forever 21.
"Customers understand that the sign of a healthy mall is that we are always evolving," said Meredith Keeler, general manager of Taubman Centers.
Keeler referred specific questions about plans for the space to Saks Fifth Avenue. A Hudson's Bay Co. spokeswoman said the decision to close the Stamford store had already been made when the company acquired Saks Inc. in November 2013, and said she could not yet say how many employees would work at the new store. At press deadline, Off 5th had yet to list open positions for the Stamford store on its website.
In a December conference call, former Hudson's Bay CEO Richard Baker said the company's Northeast stores have been underperforming those in other regions. Baker said the company has continued to focus on reducing costs, without providing further details. Baker, who owns a house in Greenwich, was replaced as CEO in January by former Toys "R" Us CEO Jerry Storch.
Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-964-2236; www.twitter.com/casoulman