They’re back, but not exactly the same. With the launch of Phase 2 of New York’s reopening to business during the COVID-19 era, the city’s famed flagship department stores are once again serving customers indoors. But the experience isn’t the same as before the March closings.
Nordstrom’s New York City flagship, Men’s Store and various other stores opened on Wednesday, June 22, with different procedures, including conducting health screenings for employees, providing face coverings for employees and shoppers, limiting the number of employees and customers in the store to accommodate social distancing, increasing cleaning and sanitizing, and keeping tried-on or returned merchandise off the floor for a period of time.
Saks Fifth Avenue completed the phased reopening of U.S. and Canadian portfolio with its Midtown flagship on June 24. New health and safety procedures include enhanced cleaning protocols and regular sanitization of high-touch areas, such as fitting rooms and point-of-sale areas. Saks has also installed state-of-the-art ultra-violet handrail cleaners on all 22 escalators located throughout the store. Social distancing procedures include: limiting the use of elevators to seniors and those with health issues; displaying signage at escalators to ensure appropriate spacing between people; requiring associates to wear face coverings and to undergo daily health screenings and requiring all customers to wear face coverings when visiting Saks, in accordance with the current New York state mandate. Shoppers may make appointments to shop before or after public store hours to visit dressing rooms prepared in advance. Appointments also can be made with a style advisor for virtual shopping.
“The reopening of our New York flagship store is a pivotal milestone for Saks Fifth Avenue and another opportunity for us to set the standard for delivering a safe, easy and personalized shopping experience,” said Marc Metrick, president of Saks Fifth Avenue. “With a fashion-forward merchandise assortment and unparalleled service offerings and experiences, our flagship serves as the beacon for our entire store fleet. We look forward to our grand reentrance to New York and showcasing new and innovative ways to shop while maintaining the high level of service for which Saks is known. On behalf of the entire team, we are thrilled to welcome customers back to Saks New York.”
Macy’s flagship and other New York stores reopened on Monday, June 22. Sister store Bloomingdale’s flagship also reopened, with enhanced cleaning, social distancing guides, plexiglass protection at select point of sale areas and new fitting room procedures.