Saks Fifth Avenue

Saks Fifth Avenue is an American chain of luxury department stores owned, since 2013, 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.[5][6]

Saks Fifth Avenue
Founded1867 (1867)
FounderAndrew Saks
Number of locations
Saks Fifth Avenue: 40[1]
International: 6[2]
OFF 5TH: 110[3]
Key people
Marc Metrick (president, 2015)[4]
OwnerHudson's Bay Company
ParentSaks, Inc.
SubsidiariesSaks OFF 5TH


Early years

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 what would become 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 Horace Saks'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, competing locally with I. Magnin.[8] 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 1990, "Saks Off 5th" was launched, an outlet store offshoot of the main brand, with 107 stores worldwide by 2016.[9]

Proffitt's acquisition

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.[10][11]

Since 2000 Saks has opened international locations in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Canada, and Mexico City.[12]

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 10022-7463 ("SHOE") for the eighth-floor shoe department in its flagship Fifth Avenue store.[13]

During the 2007–2009 recession, Saks Fifth Avenue had to close some stores and to cut prices and profit margins, thus according to Reuters "training shoppers to expect discounts. It took three years before it could start selling at closer to full price".[14] In the following years, the company closed stores in locations including Orange County (2010),[15] Denver (2011),[16] Pittsburgh (2012),[17] Chicago (2012/13)[18] and in June 2013 its last Dallas store to implement the "strategy of employing our resources in our most productive locations".[19]

As of 2013, the New York flagship store, whose real estate value was estimated between $800 million and over $1 billion at the time, generated around 20% of Saks' annual sales at $620 million, with other stores being less profitable according to analysts.[14][20]

Hudson's Bay Company acquisition

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.[21] 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[22] with a second Toronto area location in the Sherway Gardens shopping center opening in spring 2016.[23] On February 22, 2018, Saks Fifth Avenue opened its third Canadian store in Calgary, Alberta.[24]

Starting in 2015 Saks began a $250 million, three-year restoration of its Fifth Avenue flagship store.[25] In the summer of 2015, it was announced that Saks will debut a new location in Greenwich, Connecticut.[26][27] In the fall of 2015, Saks was planning to replace its existing store at the Houston Galleria with a new store.[28][29]

In February 2017, Saks was reported to be in advanced talks with Indian retailer Aditya Birla Fashion Retail Ltd. to open two stores in India. The stores are expected to be located at Aerocity in Delhi, and the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai.[30]

In September 2017, Saks Fifth Avenue would be introducing new futuristic salon concept at stores through a partnership with the Warren Tricomi.[31][32]

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.[33] Saks settled with the SEC in 2007, after firing three or more executives involved in the fraudulent activities.[33][34]

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)".[35][36] 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 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964."[35][36][37] 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."[38] The company was removed from the Human Rights Campaign's list of "allies" during the controversy.[35][36][37] The lawsuit was later settled amicably, without disclosing the terms of the settlement.[38]

In 2017, following the events of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, Saks's San Juan store located in Mall of San Juan suffered major damages along with its neighboring anchor store Nordstrom. Taubman Centers, the company who owns the mall, filed a lawsuit against Saks for failing to provide an estimated reopening date and failing to restore damages after the hurricane due to a binding contract.[39][40] Although Nordstrom reopened on November 9, 2018, on October 30, 2018, Saks Fifth Avenue announced that it would officially be pulling out of The Mall Of San Juan.

See also


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 15, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved September 12, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. Kapner, Suzanne (October 25, 2015). "Lord & Taylor Jumps Into Discount Game". Retrieved January 31, 2018 via
  4. President of Saks Steps Down. The New York Times. Retrieved on April 3, 2015.
  5. "Store Locations and Events". Saks Inc. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  6. "About Us". Saks Fifth Avenue. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  7. Block, Maxine; Rothe, Anna Herthe; Candee, Marjorie Dent (1951). Current Biography Yearbook. H. W. Wilson Co. p. 173.
  8. Zinko, Carolyne (December 4, 2003). "Eileen Denari Ludwig -- S.F. civic leader". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  9. Sherman, Lauren (September 19, 2016). "With Gilt, Hudson's Bay Company Bets Big on Off-Price". The Business of Fashion. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  10. Journal, Robert Berner and Yumiko OnoStaff Reporters of The Wall Street (July 6, 1998). "Proffitt's to Acquire Saks Holdings In $2.14 Billion Stock Transaction". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  11. "History of Saks Inc. – FundingUniverse". Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  12. "Sak's Fifth Avenue International Locations | Saks website". Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  13. "Saks department gets own ZIP code: 10022-SHOE". USA Today. Associated Press. May 24, 2007. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  14. Wahba, Phil; Ho, Solarina (July 29, 2013). "Hudson's Bay CEO bets big on department stores with Saks buy". Reuters. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  15. NGUYEN, HANG (October 13, 2010). "Saks to soon close O.C. department store". The Orange County Register. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  16. Moore, Paula (January 5, 2011). "Saks Fifth Avenue's Denver store to close". Denver Business Journal. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  17. Gough, Paul J. (January 19, 2012). "Saks Fifth Avenue Downtown to close March 17". Pittsburgh Business Times. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  18. Shropshire, Corilyn (September 13, 2012). "Saks to close after the holidays". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  19. "Saks Fifth Avenue To Close Store in Dallas". February 4, 2013. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  20. Pasquarelli, Adrianne. "Saks' flagship adds $1B punch to purchase". Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  21. Lewis, Michael (July 29, 2013). "Hudson's Bay rolls the dice on Saks". Toronto Star. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  22. "Saks braces for battle in Canada's crowded luxury fashion market". Retrieved January 31, 2018 via The Globe and Mail.
  23. Strauss, Marina (January 27, 2014). "Tycoon shows his real estate savvy with sale of Hudson's Bay store". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  24. "Saks Fifth Avenue set to land in Calgary this month" via The Globe and Mail.
  25. Tabuchi, Hiroko (November 14, 2015). "Saks Is Shaking Off Retail Gloom With a Fifth Avenue Face-Lift". Retrieved January 31, 2018 via
  26. "Saks Fifth Avenue Signs Lease for a Location in Greenwich, Connecticut". Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  27. "Saks signs lease for third Greenwich property". Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  28. "Saks Fifth Avenue To Relocate Its Flagship Store At The Houston Galleria". Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  29. "Saks acts as cornerstone of Houston Galleria's $250M transformation - Luxury Daily - In-store". Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  30. Agarwal, Sapna (February 19, 2017). "Saks Fifth Avenue planning India stores, in talks with Aditya Birla Fashion". Mint. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  31. "Saks Fifth Avenue Is Reimagining The Salon Concept With AR". PSFK. September 26, 2017. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  32. "PICTURES: Irish tourism campaign takes over Saks Fifth Avenue". Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  33. Barbaro, Michael (September 6, 2007). "Saks Settles With S.E.C. on Overpayments". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 21, 2015.
  34. "Saks Inc. Settles Financial Reporting and Related Charges by SEC" (Press release). Securities and Exchange Commission. September 5, 2007. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  35. Steinmetz, Katy (January 12, 2015). "How the Lawsuit Between Saks and a Transgender Employee Might Shake Out". Time. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  36. Hoffman, Meredith (January 13, 2015). "Saks Is Fighting to Discriminate Against a Transgender Ex-Employee". Vice News. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  37. Reilly, Nicholas (January 9, 2015). "New York department store Saks 'defends discrimination against transgender staff'". Metro. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  38. Zillman, Claire (March 5, 2015). "Saks settles discrimination suit with transgender employee, after sparking outrage". Fortune. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  39. Fung, Esther (November 3, 2017). "Mall Landlord Taubman Sues Saks Fifth Avenue Over Puerto Rico Store". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  40. Diaz, Marian (November 2, 2017). "Propietarios de The Mall of San Juan demandan a Saks Fifth Avenue". El Nuevo Dia. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
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