Selfridges’ men’s footwear department is to undergo a complete overhaul in a bid to replicate the success of its women’s Shoe Galleries.
The department, which at present is 5,597 sq ft, will swell to three times that size. It will feature more than 250 brands, up from 165, and is expected to launch in November.
According to Selfridges managing director Anne Pitcher, the concept will be based around a “clear” shopping experience. Product is likely to be merchandised by category rather than by brands.
Pitcher said: “Men’s shoe departments are typically quite dry but we can add experiences and entertainment to make it a destination. [Men] will buy multiple pairs and shop easily when they can find the answer to their needs. There are men that collect shoes.”
Pitcher added: “It should look like an easy shopping experience [with shoppers able to] recognise different categories whether they’re sneakers or brogues. Brand and service are important, but the experience is what we are looking to deliver a great solution to. Men do shop very differently to women.”
The buying team from premium footwear retailer Kurt Geiger will buy for the new department, overseen by Selfridges buying director David Walker-Smith. Kurt Geiger already buys for the Shoe Galleries.
Pitcher hopes the development, which has been in planning for a year and is part of a wider investment in menswear, will give men’s footwear the boost that the Shoe Galleries gave the women’s department when it launched in September 2010.
The £10m women’s investment saw the introduction of 4,000 pairs of shoes from 120 brands, from high street chains such as River Island and All Saints to designer exclusives from the likes of Marc by Marc Jacobs and Balenciaga.
According to Pitcher, women’s footwear and accessories have had “supreme” growth, in part due to increasing the footwear space from 20,000 sq ft to 35,000 sq ft. She declined to give further sales details.
Selfridges buying and merchandising director Sebastian Manes told Drapers last year that the Shoe Galleries had outperformed expectations, selling 10,000 pairs a week compared with a target of about 8,500.