AllSaints invasion: The Brits have arrived at Fifth & Pine downtown
About 500 antique Singer sewing machines line the windows of the Fifth & Pine building in downtown Seattle, where British clothing chain...
Seattle Times business reporters
About 500 antique Singer sewing machines line the windows of the Fifth & Pine building in downtown Seattle, where British clothing chain AllSaints Spitalfields has opened a Northwest outpost filled with fatigued leather jackets, wrinkled shirts and combat boots.
The décor, which also includes worn wooden floors and old Turkish looms, evokes an early Industrial Age. The store's pricey offerings, all sold under the AllSaints ram-skull logo, sport a dark aesthetic.
"It's kind of the steampunk Gothic look," says spokeswoman Sarah Lawrence, herself awash in black and gray knitwear. "Our palette is very subdued and neutral."
AllSaints occupies two floors of prime retail space at Fifth Avenue and Pine Street, making it the most prominent addition to downtown's fashion mix since H&M opened nearby in fall 2008. Women's clothier Coldwater Creek occupied the corner for 10 years until its store closed in January.
Despite a sluggish economy, AllSaints had to beat out a handful of serious contenders for the space, including Bellevue-based Eddie Bauer.
Maria Royer, a principal at Real Retail in Seattle, helped negotiate a long-term lease with AllSaints on behalf of landlord Metzler North America. She said AllSaints complements the building's other retail tenants — Anthropologie, Sephora and Urban Outfitters — and has made downtown its only Northwest location, so it could be a regional draw.
"AllSaints was a better fit for the project and the existing fashion co-tenancy," she said. "It's fresh, and it's new, and it's a quality product with a European sense of style."
The 80-strong AllSaints chain, which started in 1994 as a menswear line, made its U.S. debut last year with a display inside a Bloomingdale's store in New York City.
Privately held AllSaints has since opened stand-alone stores in Boston, Miami, San Francisco, Southern California and New York's Soho district. Additional openings are planned for Chicago and Las Vegas.
The store sells men's and women's clothing, children's wear, and accessories, at prices ranging from $90 to $150 for jeans and up to $800 for leather jackets. Women's clothes are no bigger than the U.S. equivalent of a size 10 or 12.
"They bring something that suits the young urban Seattle shopper," said Brynn Estelle Telkamp, a Real Retail principal who represented AllSaints in its lease negotiations. She said AllSaints gives downtown's retail core something it doesn't already have.
"You look at every other window downtown, and you see kind of the same product mix and graphics," she said. "It will differentiate us from a shopping experience on the Eastside or in one of the local malls."
AllSaints is part of a trend among retailers to make the new seem old, explaining its muted, wrinkled wares and smudged-paint surroundings, said Kiwa Iyobe, an analyst with the New York marketing consultancy Suite 2046.
"They're never going to sell a bright-yellow dress, though they might do something in mustard," she said. "It's all things vintage."
Still, the store has some futuristic touches, such as wall-mounted iPads enabling shoppers to buy a desired item online if it's out of stock in their size.
Among the store's opening-week visitors were local baristas Carissa Calderone, 28, and Marleigh Atherton, 23. Although both praised the look and feel of the merchandise, they left empty-handed.
"I can see shopping here for a special occasion, but for everyday stuff, I couldn't afford it," Atherton said. "I mostly shop at consignment stores."
Felicity Davis, 45, splurged on a new AllSaints sweater for a coming business trip to Europe. She sells Australian hair-care products and says dressing well is part of her job.
"It's not Prada, but it's a step up from H&M," she said of AllSaints. "I've bought stuff from them before, and it's good quality."
As for Eddie Bauer, Seattle's Fifth & Pine building seemed like a good place to launch a comeback after it emerged from bankruptcy in 2009 under the ownership of a San Francisco private-equity firm.
Spokeswoman Doreen Jarman declined to discuss the search for a new Seattle location, but she said Eddie Bauer is thrilled to have a Bellevue Square flagship that "immerses customers" in its 90-year outdoor heritage. The lodge-inspired store opened this past summer with more room than Eddie Bauer previously had at the mall.
"We've also introduced four new stores across the U.S. and Canada in the last year," she added.
— Amy MartinezTidbits
Uwajimaya plans to open in part of an old Larry's Market in Bellevue next spring. The new store at Northeast Eighth Street and 120th Avenue Northeast will replace Uwajimaya's site at 15555 N.E. 24th St.
The Asian specialty-supermarket chain has wanted to expand and update its Eastside store and be within walking distance of downtown Bellevue, as well as be easily accessible from Interstate I-405, CEO Tomoko Moriguchi Matsuno said in a news release.
Uwajimaya will lease 35,000 square feet of the store's 67,000 total, making it the chain's largest store after its flagship in Seattle's Chinatown International District.
The remaining space probably will go to a tenant that sells home, office, sporting and electronic goods, said Doug Exworthy, spokesman for TRF Pacific, which manages the site for owner TRF Capital. — MA
BuiltBurger, a 16-month-old Seattle company that's been selling meat mixed with other ingredients for home-cooked burgers, plans to open a flagship store at 217 James St. in Pioneer Square on Monday. A six-pack starts at $49.50 at www.builtburger.com and is delivered by FedEx. The new store will offer rotating flavors, including Supreme Pastrami, Magnificent Chorizo and Sriracha Beef. BuiltBurger also will be the only downtown merchant to sell Trophy Cupcakes. — MA
Vince, an upscale women's fashion label based in Los Angeles, opens a store Friday at Bellevue Square. Along with recent openings in Chicago and Palo Alto, Calif., Vince now has 16 U.S. retail stores and will soon expand to London. — AM
Despite concerns about unseasonably warm weather and economic pressures, the October sales of many U.S. retailers — including luxury retailer Nordstrom and wholesale-club operator Costco — beat analysts' lowered expectations, offering hope that consumer spending may stay resilient heading into the holidays.
Seattle-based Nordstrom said Thursday that sales at stores open at least a year, or same-store sales, rose 3.4 percent in October, beating analysts' forecasts for a 2.7 percent gain. Issaquah-based Costco saw same-store sales rise 6 percent, compared with expectations of a 4.6 percent gain. — Seattle Times staff and news services
Retail Report appears Fridays. Amy Martinez covers goods, services and online retail. She can be reached at 206-464-2923 or email@example.com. Melissa Allison covers the food and beverage industry. She can be reached at 206-464-3312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Retail Report
Retail Report is a look at the trends, issues and people who makeup the dynamic and versatile retail sector throughout the Puget Sound region. Every Friday with Melissa Allison and Amy Martinez. Send tips or comments to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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