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.
NRF has a handy guide with roughly 35 locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey (where online upstart Rent the Runway operates a warehouse store). There's also a session devoted to the selected retailers and what makes these stores special.
As interesting and beneficial as it is to attend conference sessions, demo new products and network with peers, there is nothing like seeing exciting new store designs, 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. Take advantage of the fact that many stores are open late in the city.
Here are our picks for what to visit while in New York:
There are few formats of greater interest, or in bigger growth mode, than online retailers' early forays into brick-and-mortar. Birchbox's first store brings to life the feeling of discovery that its signature beauty boxes bring to its subscribers each month. Birchbox is using the format as a learning lab to inform future initiatives.
Birchbox, 433 W Broadway
Warby Parker is a true pioneer, disrupting and re-inventing a once staid category by selling stylish and inexpensive eye glasses online. The company has been opening stores in major cities during the past year, but this downtown location is its flagship.
Warby Parker, 121 Greene Street
Bonobos is using brick-and-mortar to prop up its online business and recently raised $55 million for store expansion purposes. The format is a real departure from the standard retail model, according to McMillanDoolittle Senior Partner Neil Stern. The Bonobos "Guideshop" stocks no inventory but allows shoppers to try on clothing and order for home delivery.
Bonobos Guide Shop, 35 Crosby Street
Bite Beauty combines customization and beauty in a unique setting where customers can create their own lip-color in less than seven minutes.
Bite Beauty Lip Lap, 174 Prince Street
The Scholastic Store offers branded areas including a life-size Magic School Bus and a massive Harry Potter section within a larger coherent Scholastic experience, said Stern. "The whimsical kids' space is a destination unlike anywhere else in the world."
The Scholastic Store, 557 Broadway
Urban Outfitters recently opened its newest flagship store in Herald Square. As the brand's biggest store yet at 57,000 sq. ft., this is a true "lifestyle center," Stern said. The retailer plans to open a similar format, its largest yet, in Chicago this May.
Urban Outfitters, 1333 Broadway
Of course, Macy's flagship, also in Herald Square, offers a glimpse into the department store's efforts to create branded shops and a more energized shopping environment.
Macy's, 151 West 34th Street
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