Saks Fifth Avenue

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Saks Fifth Avenue
Type Subsidiary
Industry Retail
Founded 1898 (1898)
Founder(s) Andrew Saks
Headquarters New York City, New York, U.S.
Number of locations Saks Fifth Avenue: 42
OFF 5TH: 65
(October 2013)[1]
Products Clothing, footwear, designer handbags, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, and housewares
Owner(s) Saks, Inc.
Parent Hudson's Bay Company
Subsidiaries Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH

Saks Fifth Avenue is an American luxury department store chain owned by multinational corporation Hudson's Bay Company, which operates the flagship store and corporate headquarters in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.[2][3] It competes with high-end specialty stores in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, notably Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York, and Bloomingdale's; it also competes with luxury retailers; corporate cousin Lord & Taylor as well as Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.


The 1996-2007 Logo

Saks Fifth Avenue is the successor of a business founded by Andrew Saks in 1867 and incorporated in New York in 1902 as Saks & Company. Saks died in 1912, and in 1923 Saks & Co. merged with Gimbel Brothers, Inc., which was owned by a cousin of Horace Saks,[4] Bernard Gimbel, operating as a separate autonomous subsidiary. On September 15, 1924, Horace Saks and Bernard Gimbel opened Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City.

When Bernard's brother, Adam Gimbel, became President of Saks Fifth Avenue in 1926 after Bernard's sudden passing, the company took on national aspirations, opening its very first branch store that year in the city of Palm Beach, Florida, as a seasonal resort store, followed by a second resort store in Southampton, New York, in 1928. The first full-line year-round Saks store was opened in Chicago, in 1929, followed by another resort store in Miami Beach, Florida. In 1938, Saks expanded to the West Coast, opening in Beverly Hills, California, California. By the end of the 1930s, Saks Fifth Avenue had a total of 10 stores, including resort locations such as Sun Valley, Mount Stowe, and Newport. More full-line stores followed with Detroit, Michigan, in 1940 and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1949. In Downtown Pittsburgh, the company moved to its own freestanding location approximately one block from its former home on the fourth floor in the downtown Gimbel's flagship. The San Francisco location opened in 1952. More expansion followed from the 1960s through the 1990s including the Midwest, and the South, particularly in Texas.

BATUS Inc. acquired Gimbel Bros., Inc. and its Saks Fifth Avenue subsidiary in 1973 as part of its diversification strategy. In 1990, BATUS sold Saks to Investcorp S.A., which after investing in the company and weathering the early 1990s recession took Saks public in 1996 as Saks Holdings, Inc. In 1998, Saks Holdings Inc. was acquired by Proffitt's, Inc., then the parent company of Proffitt's among other department stores. Upon closing of the acquisition, Proffitt's, Inc. changed its name to Saks Incorporated.

In 2005, vendors filed against Saks alleging unlawful chargebacks. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigated the complaint and Saks settled with the SEC in 2007.[5]

In August 2007, the United States Postal Service began an experimental program selling the plus zip code extension to businesses. The first company to do this was Saks Fifth Avenue which received the zip code of 10022-SHOE for the eighth floor shoe department in its flagship Fifth Avenue store.[6] Today, the New York flagship store accounts for a significant amount of the entire chain's annual revenue.

Saks continued expanding its physical presence throughout much of the 1980s and 1990's, resulting in Saks being saddled with a number of underperforming locations. Since 2000, Saks has closed a number of locations, including White Plains, Garden City, and Southampton in New York, Minneapolis, San Diego, Portland, Oregon, and suburban Chicago locations. Since 2010 another 10 stores have closed or are scheduled to close, including Pittsburgh (despite local efforts to save it),[7] Denver,[8] Charleston, South Carolina, Stamford, Connecticut, Dallas Willow Bend and Orlando which will close in 2014. Additionally, the company closed its location in Tampa, operated since 1996, in April, 2013 and its last Dallas location in June 2013 to implement the "strategy of employing our resources in our most productive locations."[9]

Despite scaling back its Saks Fifth Avenue presence, the company has continued to build its Saks Off Fifth presence, a concept first introduced in 2000. Currently Saks maintains more than, or the same amount of Off Fifth stores and Fifth Avenue stores in a majority of the states it is located in.

On July 29, 2013, the Hudson's Bay Company (owners of the competing chain Lord & Taylor) announced it would acquire Saks Fifth Avenue's parent company for $2.9 billion.[10][11] Plans call for six or seven Saks Fifth Avenues to open in major Canadian markets, using either existing Hudson's locations or new construction. Expansion into Canada is expected to challenge The Canadian Holt Renfrew chain and undermine Nordstrom's plans to enter Canada. Plans also call for a larger number of Saks Off Fifth to open. Some Saks Fifth Avenue stores in the United States might convert to Lord & Taylor stores as early as January 2014.

On January 6, 2014, Marigay McKee, who came from Harrods, is president of Saks Fifth Avenue.[12][13]


The chain's strategy for international expansion focuses on underserved luxury markets. Its first international location, operated under license by SFAE, opened in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, courting the wealth of the oil-rich Middle East. Other locations now include the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and two stores in Mexico City. In January 2009, the company opened a second location in Saudi Arabia, in the city of Jeddah.[14] and in Puerto Rico in Plaza Internacional. The chain is developing two additional stores in Cancun and Guadalajara, which are expected to open by 2015.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Saks Store Locator." Saks Incorporated. Retrieved on February 06, 2013.
  2. ^ "Corporate Addresses." Saks Incorporated. Retrieved on March 1, 2010.
  3. ^ "About Us." Saks Fifth Avenue. Retrieved on March 1, 2010.
  4. ^ Current Biography Yearbook, Maxine Block, Anna Herthe Rothe, Marjorie Dent Candee (H. W. Wilson Co., 1951), page 173
  5. ^ Saks Settles
  6. ^ Shoe Store In New York Opens With New Zip Code - - August 17, 2007
  7. ^ Gough, Paul J. (19 January 2012). "Saks Fifth Avenue Downtown to close March 17". Pittsburgh Business Times. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  8. ^ Moore, Paula (5 January 2011). "Saks Fifth Avenue's Denver store to close". Denver Business Journal. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  9. ^ Saks Fifth Avenue To Close Store in Dallas. (2013-02-04). Retrieved on 2013-12-06.
  10. ^ "Hudson’s Bay rolls the dice on Saks". Toronto Star. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  11. ^ Moin, David (July 30, 2013). "Richard Baker's Play: HBC Makes $2.9 Billion Bid for Saks". WWD. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  12. ^ Diderich, Joelle (22 January 2014). "Fashion Crowd Toasts Richard Baker in Paris". WWD. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  13. ^ Moin, David (19 December 2013). "Mark Briggs Added to Saks Exec Team". WWD. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  14. ^ Saks Incorporated Announces Opening of Saks Fifth Avenue in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - Reuters - January 11, 2009

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