Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store has exchanged its barbed-wire fencing for display windows proclaiming its love for New York City as it gears up for a grand reopening on Wednesday, The Post has learned. The iconic department store across from Rockefeller Center — guarded by attack dogs and barbed-wire fencing recently to deter looting amid …
Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store has exchanged its barbed-wire fencing for display windows proclaiming its love for New York City as it gears up for a grand reopening on Wednesday, The Post has learned.
The iconic department store across from Rockefeller Center — guarded by attack dogs and barbed-wire fencing recently to deter looting amid protests over the killing of George Floyd — will unveil the new display windows on Tuesday to announce Wednesday, June 24, as its first day of being open to public since it shuttered its perfumed halls on March 17 in response to the deadly coronavirus.
“It feels like forever that the store has been closed,” Saks President Marc Metrick told The Post of the reopening. “Our mood is very positive, but we are not doing doorbuster sales, concerts or bringing in designers to welcome people back.”
Indeed, efforts to encourage social distancing will be top of mind for both staff and browsing patrons, thanks to the myriad of protections the company has implemented to keep people safe, including escalators equipped with ultraviolet lights to continuously cleanse the handrails.
One hundred hand-sanitizing stations have also been set up throughout the store. And customers will be greeted at the entrance with signs reminding shoppers to wear masks and keep six feet apart at all times. The signs will also explain that someone is continually keeping track of how many people are in the store, although the maximum capacity set by the company to keep people clear of COVID-19 remains unclear.
Shoppers will be encouraged to use the escalators, which are now alight with an iridescent glow of purple and green, thanks to the cleansing ultraviolet lights. The elevators will be reserved for senior citizens and those with health issues, the company said.
Decals on the floor will tell shoppers exactly where to stand when they get on the escalator. And upper management — a group that includes executives in marketing, human resources and sales — have been charged with acting as the store’s “wellness team,” a job that entails walking the floors to ensure people are practicing social distancing and wearing masks.
Consumers will have to wait to get a makeover, facial or any other spa treatment, as those services are being temporarily suspended. Testers on the counters are for display purposes only.
Clothing that gets tried on in dressing rooms is set aside for 24 hours — down from 48 hours in Saks stores that previously reopened.
The popular flagship — the last of Saks’ 40 stores to reopen to customers — will also ensure everything is constantly cleaned in full view of customers, Metrick said.
“It’s something we used to do behind the scenes, during off hours, but now you will see lots of people cleaning and picking up. The feeling of constant cleaning is the most dramatic change,” Metrick said
The store, on Fifth Avenue between 49th and 50th streets, has seen a lot of changes to its façade since March, including three weeks ago, when it was more fortified than many banks in an effort to protect against a spate of high-end lootings.
As The Post reported exclusively at that time, the luxury retailer had wrapped its crown-jewel location filled with pricey goods in chain-link fencing topped by barbed wire, and hired beefy guards equipped with attack dogs to guard the exterior. Its famous display windows were already covered in plywood following its closing in March for the coronavirus.
The company quietly dispensed of its hardcore security measures, which included high-powered floodlights that lit up the entire block, before kicking off curbside pickup services on June 10.