Saks Fifth Avenue

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This article is about the chain of department stores. For its former parent company, see Saks, Inc..
Saks Fifth Avenue
Industry Retail
Founded 1898 (1898)
Founder Andrew Saks
Headquarters New York City, New York, U.S.
Number of locations
Saks Fifth Avenue: 40[1]
International: 6[2]
OFF 5TH: 110[3]
Owner Hudson's Bay Company
Parent Saks, Inc.
Subsidiaries Saks OFF 5TH

Saks Fifth Avenue is an American department store chain owned by the Canadian retailer Hudson's Bay Company. Its flagship store and corporate headquarters are located on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.[5][6] Competitors in the US have historically included Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's, and its sister Lord & Taylor.


The 1996–2007 logo
Flagship store in Manhattan, New York

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,[7] 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, with a full-block avenue frontage south of St Patrick's Cathedral, facing Rockefeller Center. The architects were Starrett & van Vleck, who developed a reticent, genteel Anglophile classicizing facade similar to their Gimbels Department Store in Pittsburgh (1914).

When Bernard's brother, Adam Gimbel, became president of Saks Fifth Avenue in 1926 after Bernard's sudden passing, the company expanded, opening seasonal resort branches in Palm Beach, Florida and Southampton, New York, in 1928. The first full-line year-round Saks store 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. By the end of the 1930s, Saks Fifth Avenue had a total of 10 stores, including resort locations such as Sun Valley, Idaho, Mount Stowe, and Newport, Rhode Island. 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. BATUS Inc. acquired Gimbel Bros., Inc. and its Saks Fifth Avenue subsidiary in 1973 as part of its diversification strategy. More expansion followed from the 1960s through the 1990s including the Midwest, and the South, particularly in Texas. In 1990, BATUS sold Saks to Investcorp S.A., which took Saks public in 1996 as Saks Holdings, Inc.

In 1998, Proffitt's, Inc. the parent company of Proffitt's and other department stores, acquired Saks Holdings Inc. Upon completing the acquisition, Proffitt's, Inc. changed its name to Saks, Inc.

Since 2000 Saks has opened international locations in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, and Mexico City.[8]

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 so was Saks Fifth Avenue, which received the zip code of 10022-SHOE (7463) for the eighth-floor shoe department in its flagship Fifth Avenue store.[9]

As of 2013, the New York flagship store generated around 20% of annual sales at $1 billion.[10]

On July 29, 2013, the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC), owner of the competing chain Lord & Taylor, announced it would acquire Saks Fifth Avenue's parent company for US$2.9 billion.[11] Plans called for up to seven Saks Fifth Avenues to open in major Canadian markets. Expansion into Canada is expected to compete with Canadian Holt Renfrew chain and challenge Nordstrom's expansion into Canada, which began in summer 2014 with the opening of a Nordstrom store in Calgary. In January 2014, HBC announced the first Saks store in Canada would occupy 150,000 sq ft (14,000 m2) in its flagship Queen Street building in downtown Toronto, which will be connected to the Toronto Eaton Centre via sky bridge. The store will open in autumn 2015[dated info] with a second Toronto area location in the Sherway Gardens shopping center opening in spring 2016.[12]

On January 6, 2014, Marigay McKee, previously Chief Merchant at Harrods, became president of Saks Fifth Avenue.[13][14] She stepped down 15 months later on April 2, 2015, and was replaced by Marc Metrick, a former executive at Saks’s parent company, Hudson’s Bay.[4]

Starting in 2015 Saks began a $250 million, three-year restoration of its Fifth Avenue flagship store.[15]

In the summer of 2015, it was announced that Saks will debut a new location in Greenwich, Connecticut.[16][17] In the fall of 2015, Saks plans to replace its existing store at the Houston Galleria with a new store.[18][19]

Legal controversies[edit]

In 2005, vendors filed against Saks alleging unlawful chargebacks. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigated the complaint for years, and according to the New York Times "exposed a tangle of illicit tactics that let Saks ... keep money it owed to clothing makers", inflating Saks' yearly earnings up to 43% and abusively collecting around $30 million from suppliers over seven years.[20] Saks settled with the SEC in 2007, after firing three or more executives involved in the fraudulent activities.[20][21]

In 2014 Saks fired transgender employee Leyth Jamal after she was "belittled by coworkers, forced to use the men's room and repeatedly referred to by male pronouns (he and him)".[22][23] After Jamal submitted a lawsuit for unfair dismissal, the company stated in a motion to dismiss that "it is well settled that transsexuals are not protected by Title VII."[22][23][24] In a court filing, the United States Department of Justice rebuked Saks' argument, stating that "discrimination against an individual based on gender identity is discrimination because of sex."[25] The company was removed from the Human Rights Campaign's list of "allies" during the controversy.[22][23][24] The lawsuit was later settled amicably without disclosing the terms of the settlement.[25]


See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b President of Saks Steps Down. The New York Times. Retrieved on April 3, 2015.
  5. ^ "Store Locations and Events". Saks Inc. Retrieved 2014-05-21. 
  6. ^ "About Us". Saks Fifth Avenue. Retrieved 2014-05-21. 
  7. ^ Block, Maxine; Rothe, Anna Herthe; Candee, Marjorie Dent (1951). Current Biography Yearbook. H. W. Wilson Co. p. 173. 
  8. ^ "Sak's Fifth Avenue International Locations | Saks website". Retrieved 2015-09-12. 
  9. ^ "Saks department gets own ZIP code: 10022-SHOE". USA Today. Associated Press. 24 May 2007. Retrieved 2014-05-21. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Lewis, Michael (29 July 2013). "Hudson’s Bay rolls the dice on Saks". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2014-05-21. 
  12. ^ Strauss, Marina (27 January 2014). "Tycoon shows his real estate savvy with sale of Hudson’s Bay store". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2014-05-27. 
  13. ^ Diderich, Joelle (22 January 2014). "Fashion Crowd Toasts Richard Baker in Paris". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved 2014-05-21. 
  14. ^ "Saks Fifth Avenue Appoints Mark Briggs Chief Marketing Officer" (Press release). Hudson's Bay Company. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 2014-05-21. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^,
  18. ^ "Saks Fifth Avenue To Relocate Its Flagship Store At The Houston Galleria". Retrieved 2015-11-14. 
  19. ^ "Saks acts as cornerstone of Houston Galleria's $250M transformation - Luxury Daily - In-store". Retrieved 2015-11-14. 
  20. ^ a b Barbaro, Michael (2007-09-06). "Saks Settles With S.E.C. on Overpayments". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  21. ^ "Saks Inc. Settles Financial Reporting and Related Charges by SEC" (Press release). Securities and Exchange Commission. 5 September 2007. Retrieved 2014-05-21. 
  22. ^ a b c Steinmetz, Katy (2015-01-12). "How the Lawsuit Between Saks and a Transgender Employee Might Shake Out". Time. Retrieved 2015-01-13. 
  23. ^ a b c Hoffman, Meredith (2015-01-13). "Saks Is Fighting to Discriminate Against a Transgender Ex-Employee". Vice News. Retrieved 2015-01-13. 
  24. ^ a b Reilly, Nicholas (2015-01-09). "New York department store Saks 'defends discrimination against transgender staff'". Metro. Retrieved 2015-01-13. 
  25. ^ a b Zillman, Claire (2015-03-05). "Saks settles discrimination suit with transgender employee, after sparking outrage". Fortune. Retrieved 2015-10-08. 

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