Rue21 Unveils First RueGuy Stores
By Sam Lewis, associate editor
New store format focuses on young males
On Friday, August 2, Rue21, headquartered just outside of Pittsburgh, announced the debut of three new stores. These new stores are called rueGuy and are located in Bay Shore, NY; Harlingen, TX; and New Boston, OH. The latest stores to join the Rue21 — which carries clothes for both genders, with a focus on young females — family are approximately 6,000 square feet and are the first of seven to open in August. The company plans to open nearly 20 of the newly developed stores by the end of the year.
RueGuy was created with the young male shopper in mind, though the store will carry apparel for both genders. The product line is targeted at young males and is inspired by the trends of celebrities. The company’s new stores will also feature an entire new layout, highlighted by open ceilings, innovative lighting and signage, new fixtures, and polished concrete floors. The new look provides an image and atmosphere that differentiates and distinguishes itself from rue21 — which operates 959 retail stores in 47 states — but is also designed to complement the appearance and feel of rue21.
The brand expansion and opening of an entire new set of stores is a first for rue21, which began operations in 1987. Bob Fisch, rue21’s President and CEO, said about rueGuy, “While we originally went into the design process focused on building the guys business, we are confident that the new store layout, colors and fixtures will improve the shopping experience for all of our customers.” While expanding the product line and designing new store layouts may attract new shoppers and satisfy the needs of current ones, the retailer probably won’t see the full benefit of its investments until it begins an omni-channel presence for its customers. Currently, shoppers of rue21 and rueGuy cannot purchase merchandise through rue21.com. The company plans to launch e-commerce with rue21.com in November, in time for the holiday season.