By Hannah Gray
Last week, Kate Spade New York announced plans to close down all brick-and-mortar locations of its offshoot brands, Kate Spade Saturday and Jack Spade, declaring a necessary shift in focus to its flagship Kate Spade New York brand. A total of 31 stores, which are littered in various cities across the country, are expected to close shop in the first half of 2015 — including Jack Spade’s first freestanding store in the South, located in the Westside district of Atlanta, Ga.
The menswear brand will now be sold online and through outside retailers. The decision to shift the bulk of Jack Spade’s business into the e-commerce sector is a wise one, according to Kate Spade CEO Craig Leavitt. In his official statement, he asserts how with “this new approach to distribution, Jack Spade is now better positioned to grow as we broaden our consumer target.”
Kate Spade Saturday (whose only Southern regional locale is in Houston) will continue to be stocked both online and in flagship Kate Spade New York stores. The basis of the line has been to appeal to a younger generation, selling merchandise at a lower and more affordable price, but at a mere 2 years old, it has had insufficient opportunity to grow roots of influence and staying power. Perhaps aligning with the more-established Kate Spade brand will benefit both.
But it all won’t come without a cost. Kate Spade New York will incur charges close to $30 million dollars because of their decision to shut down the physical locations of their two-standalone brands. The leaders within the company consider these transitional costs to be worth it, as they allow for a primary focus centered on expanding Kate Spade New York into a broader lifestyle brand. With the intention to broaden the company’s “product categories” and to better “reach customers in all facets of their lives”, the movement to “deliver on Kate Spade New York’s full potential” is in full swing.
Fortunately, the South will not be entirely devoid of Kate Spade once the two aforementioned locations close. Kate Spade New York’s brick-and-mortar shops are staying put, as are Kate Spade outlet stores, which will leave Southern customers with unimpeded access to the company’s famous candy-colored handbags and accessories.