Saks Fifth Avenue, a pioneer in creating novel retail experiences over 80 years ago, is undergoing a radical makeover in an effort to deal with the market and cultural upheavals bashing the retail industry, reports David Gillens.

“As stores around the country reckon with Amazon.com, discount chains and changing consumer habits, they are turning to “experiential” offerings that entice people to enter their doors,” Gillen says.

The Wellery, taking up 16,000 square feet on the second floor, “features kiosks offering avocado juice and futuristic fat removal processes. It also has group fitness classes taught by ex-convicts and vegan nontoxic nail treatments” that promise to increase confidence and overall wellness.

Image credit: SinoVision English Channel Archives, screen grab, YouTube

Other department stores, such as Nordstrom and Macy’s have been offering spa services such as acupuncture, manicures, massages and waxing for a while now but Saks latest foray into the business of wellness is by far the most ambitious.

“Selling stuff in stores is not the answer,” Marc Metrick, the president of Saks, told The Times. “You have to build an emotional connection with them. Where else can you take a fitness class and buy a Chanel handbag?”

Read more at The New York Times

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