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Saks Fifth Avenue ConBody

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The Amazon Factor will lead to as many as 8,600 store closings in 2017. Retailers have three options: Close up shop, innovate, or change and become a discount retailer, which, as Costco and Ross Stores are proving, could be a viable strategy. Saks Fifth Avenue has decided to fight by reinventing the very concept of retail.

Leveraging a growing trend, Saks has converted the second floor of its flagship New York store into “The Wellery” — a collection of health and fitness products and services ranging from avocado juice to CoolSculpting body fat reduction.

One way to change is to offer services that exemplify reinvention. ConBody is a “prison-style boot camp” with ex-convicts leading workouts for $30 a class. ConBody’s studio space features a mock prison cage and a “mugshot” wall.

As The New York Times reports, traffic is light. Trendwatcher Irma Zandl opines: “I can’t see anybody coming into Saks and wanting to get all sweated up taking this class before getting on with their day.” Innovation is hard but remember that few ever thought that people would want to eat at a store restaurant either.

Saks Fifth Avenue • 611 Fifth Avenue • New York, NY 10022

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