The New Shoe Store

I remember well the days of shoes stores that neatly displayed the “lefts” throughout the store and the long row of individual chairs and fitting stools. I sold shoes for Florsheim while in high school, the beginning of my retail career. With shoe horn in my back pocket I would seat the customer and remove his left shoe,due to the fact that I was told that the foot opposite the hand you write with is generally larger. Based on the fact that most people are right-handed you would measure the left foot, to this day I question this assumption. I would place the Braddock Device on the floor and request the gentleman to stand and bear his weight on the device [ in the bis the Braddock is the measuring device ] which are still available. After ascertaining the size I would enter the stock room to find the reqired size and style. Left to Right, Small to Large was always the order, A to AAA, E to EEE [shoes used to come in widths] I sure remember that, I spent hours back there restocking and filling in transfered sizes.

Times have changed [sneakers have seen to that] but the art of shoe fitting still exists, today it’s reserved for the more upscale shoe retailers. Currently the more affordable shops have adopted the “open-stock” method which is “self-service”. Due to the rise in operating costs and floor space the “open-stock” makes sense. I was recently engaged to design a renovation for an long established sporting goods company who were sorely in need of a renovation. Their shoe department was an jumble of mismatched fixturing and slat-wall, that did nothing to raise the “perceived value” of the product. The mens clothing, which shared the second floor was obscuring the presence of the shoes entirely, forcing the footwear into a awkward corner. The other concern was the fact that they sell both men’s and women’s shoes and  children’s as well. A classic example of the need to departmentalize.

These “before” shots will provide a clear picture of the problems at hand…

The space has “good bones” the exposed ceiling, the suspended lighting and the exposed HVAC is the current vogue in many retail interiors. We needed to enlarge and define the depts. We did so my both eliminating and creating storage space to enlarge the rear wall. Secondly I suggested  the use of  Madix brand gondola shelving to supplement the back up stock. Instituting the “self- service” we provided not only more space, we also increased the “branding” factor by merchandising single manufacturers products together.

Here are the “after shots”   Now a sense of space imbues the product with an increased “percieved value” so important in creating customers who do not shop price, but seek technical advice as to the choice of product.

The suspended "pavillion" provides a center of interest and creates a womens department

The left and right display niches are mens are divided into athletic and streetwear catagories. The two gondolas are “open stock” women’s, the hassocks give the women’s a air of contemporary ‘chic”

The boys area with "open stock" gondola, providing display for "brand" merchandising.

Take notice of the minimal use of “slat-wall” combined with “recess” standards. This further elevates the presentation and creates a” better ” goods environment. All the while enabling the merchant to employ both “faceout” and “double hanging” if need be during higher inventory periods.

mens dept. opposite,both shoes and clothing have been “integrated”


This last photo makes clear the impact created by the rear wall display niches, the elegance of minimal tubing standards supporting glass shelving and the gleam of a real wood flooring area.

Last report says that the renovation was recieved well by existing customers and sales are up over last year. We have already been contacted to start first floor renovation for Spring 2012.









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