PORTLAND, Ore. -- People say Saks Fifth Avenue and you know what you're getting.
Now say Saks Off 5th, and what do you get? According to the company's boss more of the same, but with better prices. Saks' newest outlet opens Thursday at Bridgeport Village.
"We try to appeal to the entire family", said Robert Wallstrom, President of Saks Off 5Th outlets.
It's the fastest growing division in the nearly 100 year old company.
This outlet store is the company's 56th and the only one in the Northwest. It's 28,000 square feet in an open air concept. The fitting rooms and cash registers are located in the center of the store.
"We really wanted to make it a luxury loft environment", said Wallstrom.
Saks has repurposed the former Wild Oats grocery store at Bridgeport. Wallstrom said he chose the location for several reasons.
"The shopping environment, the tenant mix, the attention to detail."
The plans for the Off 5th Avenue were in the works prior to the company shutting down it's full line store in downtown Portland.
Saks Fifth Avenue first moved into the Portland market 20 years ago. Sliding sales during the recession caused the company to downsize, closing several stores around the country.
Wallstrom said Off 5th plans to expand with three to five stores a year. The company is taking advantage of favorable leases agreements and cheaper construction costs.
Most of the stores are located in suburban lifestyle mall settings. The company is careful to design the stores so as to not look to upscale, but with a look that lets the customer know this is not your typical outlet store.
"On the one hand we wanted it to feel like you were walking into a Saks store and reminicent of a Saks store in a New York environment, but yet we wanted it to communicate value", noted Wallstrom.
Most of the clothing, some 80 percent, is designed and made exclusively for the store. The rest is from Saks' full line stores.
Saks Off 5th opens Thursday at 10 a.m. at Bridgeport Village. Mystery Money cards will be handed out worth from $5 to $500 when customers sign up for the stores rewards program.