ABC Mart continues the relentless expansion of its main chain, but is also experimenting with a variety of smaller select shop style formats, particularly in fashion markets. Its latest, Ace Shoes, has been designed for fashion buildings, stations and even department stores, with fashion trend leaders the core target.
ABC Mart opened the first two stores for a new chain called Ace Shoes last month. Located in Lumine Shinjuku and Lumine Yokohama, Ace Shoes has been designed as a small format fashion footwear select shop. A typical ABC Mart store requires a minimum of 180 sqm but Ace Shoes stores are around 60-90 sqm. The stores carry a selected range of fashion casual shoes targeting fashion focused consumers in their 20s and 30s. Some accessories are also sold through the store.
Prices are higher than those at a typical ABC Mart where transactions average ¥6,000 – at Ace Shoes values of ¥8,000 or more are expected. Products include top end lines such as Reebok’s Instapump Fury OG which retails for ¥20,000. Ace Shoes also sells ABC Mart’s own brands such as Vans, Saucony and Diadora.
ABC Mart hopes the focus on fashion and slightly premium pricing will make the store an ideal tenant for station buildings and department stores, helping the footwear retailer reach new customers. Late last month, Takashimaya also opened pop up stores called Sneakers Select by ABC Mart at its Yokohama, Kyoto and Osaka stores.
Ace Shoes is just the latest new chain by ABC Mart. Last year it launched Billy’s Ent, offering a select range of men’s footwear from brands like Nike, Adidas and New Balance alongside Vans and Saucony, as well as a new fashion line called Vans Vault. It also started Charlotte, which sells fashionable lines of leading footwear brands as well as some apparel, bags and accessories. Both chains were designed with the current boom in West Coast culture and fashion stores in mind – Ron Herman style stripped wood displays, faded light blue paint and so on. Its more upscale format, Premier Stage, is also being expanded.
While ABC Mart has seen a big jump in fashion sneaker sales in the last few years, its core chain doesn’t lend itself to fashion conscious consumers, leading to the decision to create these new chains, all of which have no reference to ABC Mart in-store.
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