I was honored to be a panelist at Columbia Business School’s annual Retail & Luxury Conference on February 17th. Alongside chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud and other inspiring entrepreneurs, I debated creativity in retail amidst an environment of disruption. The conference’s keynote speaker, Geatano Sciuto, President of Fendi Americas, presented Fendi’s successful rebranding (and doubling of business) by blending a change in the “content,” new focus on fashion accessories and uber-luxury and change in the “container” (the store). Sciuto highlighted the development of the Palazzo Fendi Rome flagship into a hub of experiences, combining a ready-to wear store, private shopping suite, boutique hotel and Zuma restaurant as well as the dramatic renovation of the Fendi 57th Street New York flagship (See: Commercial Basis: Shopper as Flaneur) to captivate Fendi’s customers with “surprise and delight.”
I discussed how the new retail reality of ultra-pricey high-street store rents often requires brands to test new retail concepts and new markets with a pop-up to permanent strategy and explained why engaging uni-brand and multi-brand concept stores are the new department stores as formulaic shopping experiences continue to decline in popularity. Finally, I detailed how brands like Adidas and Uniqlo are thinking about entire building occupancy that can convey their identity and values not only to consumers, but also attract and retain the critical creative class of workers they need to thrive.
Photo credit: Columbia Business School Retail & Luxury Goods Club
ducated at Yale and Princeton and an innovative thinker and leader in New York's commercial real estate community, Alex Cohen develops strategy, advises, manages and analyzes commercial office, retail and mixed-used acquisition and lease transactions for tenants, landlords and investors.
With a background in urban planning, Alex has over 18 years of commercial real estate transaction negotiation, totaling ten million square feet. Alex has both extensive experience in launching international brands in the U.S. and a deep expertise in the marketing and repositioning of mixed use real estate. Alex’s unique perspective allows him to identify markets, brand buildings and plan space configurations with the potential to attract and retain talent and customers vital to the workplace and retail environments of the future. Alex is a recognized thought leader and frequent contributor and speaker in national and business media, including US News & World Report, USA Today, Huffington Post, Epoch Times and Crain's NY Business and he was recently interviewed on the floor of the NYSE by CheddarTV. His recent speaking engagements have included Columbia Business Schools' annual Retail and Luxury Goods Conference Luxury Interactive 2017. His recent clients include Sennheiser, Unilever, Kering (Gucci), Canada Goose and CBS.
Alex resides in Midtown Manhattan, one block from Central Park, and often spends his weekends in the Hamptons with his family and Golden Retriever, Lapo.
View all posts by Alex Cohen