Paul Stuart is on the move in Chicago.
The venerable New York-based menswear retailer is relocating its store on Oak Street and will return to the city’s famed Michigan Avenue.
A two-level, 5,250-square-foot store at 822 North Michigan Avenue is expected to open in the first quarter of next year at which point Oak Street will close.
The new store is in a prime corner location, close to Canada Goose, Bottega Veneta, Ralph Lauren and the RL Restaurant, that company’s first dining location.
“We found a spot that we think will be perfect,” said Trevor Shimpfky, president and chief executive officer of Paul Stuart. “It’s on a corner and will have incredible windows on North Michigan and East Pearson.”
For more than a decade, Paul Stuart had operated a store in the John Hancock Center on Michigan Avenue but that closed in 2008 when its lease expired. The retailer moved to Oak Street the following year and in 2011, opened a second unit on LaSalle Street in the Loop.
“But we were coming up on the expiration of our lease on LaSalle and that store was completely destroyed during COVID-19,” Shimpfky said, during an incident of theft, and the decision was made to focus exclusively on Oak Street. “The neighborhood around LaSalle is a very specific business district and we knew it would take time to recover,” he explained. “So we were forced with a decision when everyone was tightening their belts coming out of COVID-19 and we decided to make a go of it with one store on Oak Street.”
But the lure of Michigan Avenue remained.
Shimpfky said the company started looking for locations earlier this year and was finally able to secure the new space.
“It’s going to be great for us,” he said. “It has a ground floor and a mezzanine and we will create a beautiful, well-lit store.” He said that on the East Pearson side of the space, where it is exposed to the street, he will install a tailor shop so passersby can see the craftspeople in action. “They’ll be on full display,” he said.
He said the new space will be larger than Oak Street, which is 4,000 square feet with only one window. “Oak Street is in a cute town house, but this has 20 percent more square footage and a better layout.”
Shimpfky said Paul Stuart has historically performed well in Chicago and expects that the customers who had shopped on Oak Street will be retained after the move.
“And we’ll get new traffic,” he said, adding that he believes it will also appeal to a younger generation which may be on the street shopping at Canada Goose or Ralph Lauren. “We’re really bullish on new customer acquisition in this location,” he said.
“We feel this new store will represent our clothing and brand in an elevated manner,” added Aslihan Danisman, vice president of digital and customer relationship management. She said the fall ’23 line is “a turning point for us,” with an expanded sportswear offering and a “sophisticated, modern, chic luxury” aesthetic that will be showcased well in the new space.
Paul Stuart was founded in 1938 by Ralph Ostrove and operates a flagship on Madison Avenue in New York as well as branches in Southampton, N.Y., and Washington, D.C. There is also a clearance store across the street from the flagship. The retailer also operates 80 shops-in-shop and close to 500 corners in Japan. Since 2012, the company has been owned by Mitsui, the company’s longtime Japanese licensee, which purchased it from the founding family.