Cartier Sues Saks Fifth Avenue Over Flagship Boutique

Cartier has filed a legal action against Saks Fifth Avenue, seeking a declaratory judgment that will prevent a Cartier shop from being ejected from Saks’ New York City flagship (pictured).

According to Cartier’s complaint, filed Oct. 3 in New York State Supreme Court, two years ago the brand signed a five-year lease with Saks that stationed a Cartier boutique near the flagship’s 49th Street entrance. This year, Saks began a renovation of the ground floor of the flagship, which caused “substantial challenges for Cartier,” including increased dust and debris as well as lower foot traffic, the papers said.

At one point, Saks suggested that Cartier move to another spot within the store, but the proposed location did “not align with the Maison’s positioning and image standards,” according to a statement issued by Cartier. “When Cartier refused, Saks improperly terminated the parties’ agreement. To date, Saks and Cartier have been unable to reach a mutually agreed upon solution.

“Cartier has long been committed to Saks Fifth Avenue and had anticipated this partnership lasting through 2021, at a minimum,” the statement added. “The announcement of [this] legal action against Saks is in response to Saks’ breach and attempted termination of this contract.”

The legal papers further charge that Saks “promised the Cartier location to another competing luxury brand following the completion of renovations to the Saks flagship store,” but did not name the brand or the source for this information.

The suit claims breach of contract and breach of covenant and asks that Saks be enjoined from terminating the contract. It says that damages could top $40 million.

Hudson’s Bay Company, which purchased Saks Fifth Avenue in 2013, declined comment on the suit. But it told JCK: “We have re-conceptualized the model of our Fifth Avenue flagship in a way that will revolutionize luxury shopping. In partnership with our many existing and new vendors, our grand renovation will deliver a one-of-a-kind experience to our customers through elevated and dominant category presentations in our reimagined store.”

The renovation of the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship has included a new jewelry concept, Jewelry on 2, which debuted in May

Photo courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue)

JCK News Director