Saks Fifth Avenue
|Headquarters||New York City, New York, U.S.|
Number of locations
|Saks Fifth Avenue: 40
OFF 5TH: 110
|Marc Metrick (president, 2015)|
|Owner||Hudson's Bay Company|
|Subsidiaries||Saks OFF 5TH|
Saks Fifth Avenue is an American department store owned by the oldest commercial corporation in North America, the Hudson's Bay Company. Its main flagship store is located on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Competitors in the US have historically included Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Barneys, and its sister Lord & Taylor.
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, 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 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.
As of 2013, the New York flagship store generated around 20% of annual sales at $1 billion.
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. 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, connected to the Toronto Eaton Centre via sky bridge. The store opened in February 2016  with a second Toronto area location in the Sherway Gardens shopping center opening in spring 2016.
On January 6, 2014, Marigay McKee, previously Chief Merchant at Harrods, became president of Saks Fifth Avenue. 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.
In the summer of 2015, it was announced that Saks will debut a new location in Greenwich, Connecticut. In the fall of 2015, Saks plans to replace its existing store at the Houston Galleria with a new store.
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. Saks settled with the SEC in 2007, after firing three or more executives involved in the fraudulent activities.
In 2014 Saks fired transgender employee Leyth Jamal after she was allegedly "belittled by coworkers, forced to use the men's room and repeatedly referred to by male pronouns (he and him)". 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." 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." The company was removed from the Human Rights Campaign's list of "allies" during the controversy. The lawsuit was later settled amicably, without disclosing the terms of the settlement.
Saks Fifth Avenue in Santa Fe Mall in Mexico City.
Saks at the North Star Mall in San Antonio, Texas
- President of Saks Steps Down. The New York Times. Retrieved on April 3, 2015.
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- "Saks department gets own ZIP code: 10022-SHOE". USA Today. Associated Press. 24 May 2007. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
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- 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.
- Diderich, Joelle (22 January 2014). "Fashion Crowd Toasts Richard Baker in Paris". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
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- "Saks Fifth Avenue To Relocate Its Flagship Store At The Houston Galleria". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
- "Saks acts as cornerstone of Houston Galleria's $250M transformation - Luxury Daily - In-store". www.luxurydaily.com. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
- Hong, Jackie (18 February 2016). "Saks opens first Canadian store". Toronto Star. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
- Barbaro, Michael (2007-09-06). "Saks Settles With S.E.C. on Overpayments". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-09-21.
- "Saks Inc. Settles Financial Reporting and Related Charges by SEC" (Press release). Securities and Exchange Commission. 5 September 2007. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- Steinmetz, Katy (2015-01-12). "How the Lawsuit Between Saks and a Transgender Employee Might Shake Out". Time. Retrieved 2015-01-13.
- Hoffman, Meredith (2015-01-13). "Saks Is Fighting to Discriminate Against a Transgender Ex-Employee". Vice News. Retrieved 2015-01-13.
- Reilly, Nicholas (2015-01-09). "New York department store Saks 'defends discrimination against transgender staff'". Metro. Retrieved 2015-01-13.
- Zillman, Claire (2015-03-05). "Saks settles discrimination suit with transgender employee, after sparking outrage". Fortune. Retrieved 2015-10-08.
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