FierceRetail's 2016 guide to the best of New York retail

There is no shortage of fantastic retail formats in New York, and as attendees ready for the National Retail Federation's BIG Show, many are making a list and charting a map to check out as many stores as possible.

At FierceRetail, we read and write about new formats, in-store technology and merchandising initiatives all year long, but there is nothing like seeing the merchandising initiatives and watching shoppers interact with new environments to get the creative juices flowing.

This is the kind of inspiration that attendees can take back home and act on.

Happy shopping. Or, as we call it in retail, field work.

FierceRetail mined its archives, tallied up readers' favorite stories about new formats and, with the help of retail consultancy McMillanDoolittle, compiled a list meant to complement the NRF's. NRF has a handy guide with 34 locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. There's also a session Monday morning devoted to the selected retailers and what makes these stores special.

Here are our picks for what to visit while in New York:

This year's underlying theme may be "think like a startup," but it's the luxury brands making a big showing among our top picks. Warby Parker stores remain a treat to see, if only to absorb the energy from shoppers happily engaging with the brand.
Warby Parker, 121 Greene Street

BirchBox could hardly handle the crowds coming through its SoHo store last year, so stop by when in the neighborhood and see why this brand continues to grow.
Birchbox, 433 W Broadway

To see what Lululemon is planning for its new stores, visit this new location complete with a concierge service and beverage station. Or catch a free yoga class on the second floor.
Lululemon, 114 5th Avenue

& Other Stories is H&M's newest concept targeting a slightly older millennial. This is its second and largest location in the United States.
& Other Stories, 505 5th Avenue

Lowe's new city format is a streamlined version of the big box with a merchandise selection curated for city dwellers. FierceRetail has a slideshow of the store, but the real deal is located on the Upper West Side. 
Lowe's, 2008 Broadway

The Polo Ralph Lauren shop in midtown offers a bevy of new technology in one of the smartest installations of the year, including smart fitting rooms linked to inventory by RFID.
Polo Ralph Lauren, 711 5th Avenue

Coach is reinventing itself and has reopened its flagship to elevate brand experience in a more intimate and luxurious space. The emphasis is on technology, and Coach is using the space as lab.
Coach, 79 5th Avenue

Macy's Herald Square has gotten a $400 million makeover with 100,000 sq. ft. of new retail space aimed at capturing the luxury shopper. Note the many boutiques inside, including the Kenneth Cole Watch Shop, Nespressso Boutique and Macy's One Below format aimed at millennials.
Macy's, 151 West 34th Street

Kate Spade's flagship features an ever-changing assortment in a multilevel townhouse setting. Shoppers can try on and buy clothes, have a drink or visit a top floor VIP salon for premier customers.
Kate Spade, 789 Madison Avenue

Hugo Boss's flagship is three floors and houses all the Boss brands for one-stop menswear shopping.
Hugo Boss, 10 Columbus Circle #106

Alexander McQueen has relocated its flagship to a new 3,500 sq. ft. space and combines ready to wear with fresh from the runway.
Alexander McQueen, 747 Madison Avenue

ABC Carpet & Home is a New York institution. Known for its ever-changing displays and merchandise selection, the flagship location offers six stories (and two buildings) of rugs, modern furnishings, luxe bedding and home goods. There's also an eclectic selection of unique jewelry, beauty items and food offerings.
ABC Carpet & Home, 888 and 881 Broadway