Saks Fifth Avenue, New York City, New York

An illustration, announcing the store's September 15, 1924
opening  only hinted at the beauty and grandeur of
Saks Fifth Avenue's  new building next to
St. Patrick's Cathedral on Fifth Avenue.

Saks Fifth Avenue's landmark store became an
icon for luxury retailing.

Another illustration, this time from above, shows
how the building steps back like a wedding cake
above the seventh floor.

Saks Fifth Avenue remains to this day
one of the best and most remarkable retail
structures and has uniquely retained some
of the atmosphere of the golden days
of department store retailing.

Saks Fifth Avenue (1924)
Fifth Avenue, 49th to 50th Streets
New York City, New York

PLaza 3-4000

Street Floor
Fine Jewelry Collections • Fashion Jewelry Collections • Handbag Collections • Small Leather Goods Collections • Glove Collections • Accessories Collections • Ciani Boutique • Ferragamo Accessories Boutique • Hosiery Collections • Hat Collections • Scarf Collections • Rainwear Collections • Blouse Collections • Cosmetics Collections • Fragrance Collections • Pulse Points • Stationery Collections • La Boutique

9 E. 49th Street
Dog Toggery

15 E. 49th Street
The Linen Pavilion • Bath Shop • Carlin Comforts

10 E. 50th Street
Store for Men Men's Furnishings • Men's Jewelry Collections • Men's Sportshirt Collections • Men's Sweater Collections • Men's Robe Collections • Men's Active Sportswear

12 E. 50th Street
La Chocolaterie • Gourmet Gallery

14 E. 50th Street
Guest and Gift Shop • Fauchon at Saks Fifth Avenue

16 E. 50th Street
The Active Sports Shop • Ski Shop • Sand and Sea Shop

Second Floor
Juniorette Shop • Young Circle for Young Juniors • Young Accessories • Boys' Shop • Rannoch Shop • Alligator Shop • Girls' Shop • Girls' Lingerie Collections • Baby Boutique • Children's Collections • Maternity Boutique • Toy Collections

Third Floor
Sportdress Collections • Sport Separates Collections • Sportcoat Collections • Sport Suit Collections • Rainboutique • Potpourri Collections • Anne Klein Corner • VIP Jeans • Active Sportswear Collections • Calvin Klein Boutique • Revillon Fur Boutique
Fourth Floor
Shoe Collections • Shoe Salon • Millinery Salon • Lingerie Collections • Sleepwear Collections • Corset Salon • Robe Collections • Easy Living Collections • Inner Circle • Lingerie Luxe • Beauty Circle

Fifth Floor
Fifth Avenue Shop • Park Avenue Shop • Regency Room • Evening Collections • Import Boutique • 12 Plus • Salon Paulette • Revillon Fur Salon
Designer Gallery Adolfo • Boutique Donald Brooks • Beene Bazaar • Oscar de la Renta Boutique • Missoni Boutique • Chloé Boutique

Sixth Floor
Store for Men Men's Clothing Collections • Men's Sportswear Collections • Country Gentlemen's Shop • Passport Collections • 611 Shop • University Shop • Men's Shoe Collections • Men's Hat Collections • Emilio Pucci Shop • Vantage Point • Early On • Men's Boutique

Seventh Floor
Young Elite Shop Young Elite Dress Collections • Young Elite Sportswear Collections • Young Elite Coat Collections • Young Elite Shoe Collections • Young Elite Hat Colections • Young Elite Lingerie Collections • Jag Boutique

Eighth Floor
Espresso Bar Restaurant
(400,000 s.f.)


Palm Beach, FL
300 Worth Avenue

Chicago, IL
669 North Michigan Ave

Greenwich, CT
E. Putnam Ave at Millbank Ave.

Beverly Hills, CA
9600 Wilshire Boulevard
April, 1938

Miami Beach, FL
Lincoln Road
Detroit, MI
New Center Building
4740 Second Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA
Sixth Avenue
20,000 sq. ft.

San Francisco, CA
Geary Avenue

Philadelphia, PA
Chestnut Street
34,000 sq. ft.

Fort Lauderale, FL
Sunrise Shopping Center
30,000 sq. ft.

White Plains
Bloomingdale Road at Grren Place
70,000 sq. ft.
August, 1954

St. Louis, MO
Maryland Street and York Avenue
48,000 sq. ft.

Springfield, NJ
Millburn and Short Hills Avenues
67,000 sq. ft.
August, 1957

Skokie, IL
Old Orchard Shopping Center
58,000 sq. ft.
November, 1958

Palm Springs, CA
Palm Canyon Drive

Garden City
Franklin Avenue
100,000 sq. ft.
March, 1962

Palo Alto, CA
Stanford Shopping Center

Phoenix, AZ
2500 E. Camelback Road
September, 1963

La Jolla, CA
7600 Girard Avenue
December, 1963

Chevy Chase, MD
Wisconsin Avenue
102,000 sq. ft.
August, 1964

Troy, MI
Somerset Mall

Atlanta, GA
Phipps Plaza
148,000 sq. ft.
August, 1968

Bala-Cynwyd, PA
2 Bala Plaza
335 E. City Avenue
August, 1969

Boston, MA
Prudential Center

Monterey, CA
Del Monte Center

Woodland Hills, CA
Woodland Hills Promenade
July, 1973

St. Louis
Plaza Frontenac

Center of Fashion
1800 S. Post Oak Road

Bal Harbour, FL
Bal Harbour Shops

Bergen, NJ
Riverside Square
February, 1977

, OH (1978)
Beachwood Place

Costa Mesa, CA (1979)
South Coast Plaza
105,000 sq. ft.

The Esplanade (1979)
Palm Beach, FL
172 Worh Avenue
30,000 sq. ft.

Coming in due course.


  1. I believe that the downtown Pittsburgh location (unfortunately, now slated for closure in 2012) moved to its present location out of the Gimbel's building in 1976 or 1977 at Smithfield Street and Oliver. It was also much larger, at about 85k sf.

  2. Excellent exhibit...thank you.
    Saks started at 34th street and Herald Square between both Gimbel's and Macy's.
    Saks also has a location in Huntington NY and Southamton NY. Other locations include Stamford. CT (which replaced the Greenwich store). Later a smaller store opened on Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich CT. There is also a store in Bal Harbour Florida which replaced a smaller store down the street.

  3. Saks still has that old charm you can't find anywhere else today!

  4. An old jingle from the 80' and radio
    We are all the things you are
    Gifts just right for you
    We are all the things you are
    AT Saks Fifth Av EN UE

    1. Good memory...slight correction, it lasted only between 1978-1980> I left Bamberger's and went to Saks as a Buyer during that time period when they used that slogan (although those of us who worked there had a different take on it, which I will not add to this site). Then I went back to Bamberger's and then back to Saks by 1986.

  5. Saks also operated a separate more moderately-priced chain in the New York City are called Saks 34th, which closed in the mid-60s. This is a similar picture between the Bullock's and Bullocks Wilshire chains, except that the latter was more luxurious.

  6. Go to NYC and visit Saks & Company on Fifth Avenue. The best decorated store for the Christmas season anywhere!

  7. A Saks opened at Dadeland Mall in the 80's, I believe. I remember the green marble Guerlain section, and my mom in a shopping frenzy over Louis Vuitton.

  8. The Jacobson's store in Indianapolis is now a Saks. Indy is now big time! Sure miss Ayres, though.

  9. In the 1960s and 70s there was a small store on Nassau St., Princeton, NJ. I believe it sold only mens sports wear.

  10. I worked for S.F.A. for 50 years. Met my wife there. Children still work there.
    Saks has been very good to my family.

  11. My grandmother and great aunt both worked for Saks as seamstresses. I believe my grandma worked there for 25 years.

  12. There was a Saks at Oakbrook (suburban Chicago), but it is now closed.

  13. The SAKS in Garden City closed some years was quite small but it was nice to have one so close by.

  14. As a adolescent/teen in the 50's/60's, the "Degas shoe bar" was the best!

  15. Saks is closing many stores (Garden City, Lajolla, etc.) and asking customers to go to larger more centrally located areas to shop. Its all about shopping on-line. What a shame

  16. I worked at Saks in NYC from 2005-2010 as a customer service representative. It was my first (and only) taste of working in NYC but I will never forget it. Saks has long had a reputation, but when I was there for five years in rather recent times, I saw a store try desperately to look and feel "inclusive"--and fail at it.

    Prior to the couture floor (3rd) makeover right around the time I left, both the 3rd and the menswear floor on 6th were my favorite floors. They inspired me and still carried a sense of elegance (even if the majority of the customers weren't). The restaurant (Café SFA) was a nice eatery on the 8th floor but it was renovated and relocated and was no longer the same. 2005-2008 saw the opening of two additional, smaller eateries which were equally disappointing. Perhaps the biggest letdown was the mishandling of the gifts department on 9th. In 2005-2006 its Christmas department was one side of the floor, a beautiful array of gifts, cards, toys and ornaments. In the last two years I worked there, that department was reduced to a nook and cranny on the 8th floor housewares section (which too had seen its changes).

    Elegance and sophistication weren't visible by the time I left in 2010; many associates I came to be very good friends with had left Saks for other venues. Their fragrance and cosmetic department was nice, but when they made the grave mistake of terminating all of the associates and only leaving the vendors present the customer complaints were justifiable. Another wrong move which was done around the time I left Saks was moving the fur salon to the second floor (RTW) when it had been on the third floor (couture) for a long time. Sad to say, but it cheapened the salon in the process.

    I could go with more but I'll stop here. I wonder if anyone else here worked at Saks as well.

  17. My late ex-husband bought me a beautiful ski outfit in their Ski Shop on East 50th St.for our anniversary I was a cute ski bunny! This was in the late 60's. The store has changed but the Walt Whitman store on Long Island is the best department store and the only real place to buy beautiful clothes.

  18. I love Saks! My late ex husband bought me a gorgeous ski outfit in the east 50th st. ski department. This was in the late 60's or early 70's. Saks is THE only place to buy beautiful clothes.

  19. SFA @ Rockfeller Center... I LOVE YOU! I made note of OneLifeinLlanview comments and I tend to agree to a point. However, even with it's flaws, SFA gets it right in NYC/Boston.
    Yes, it always busy and bustling with tourists and the first floor makes you crazy but it is my FAVORITE NYC/Boston department store! Service, presentation, merchandise is tops. They are constantly remodeling to keep the store fresh and clean from the thundering herd of shoppers.
    End of season sales can reward you price wise.

    SFA NYC/Boston I LOVE YOU!

  20. I just stumbled on to this site and had to add some history to the various SFA stores and their locations. I worked for Robert J. Bridges Architects in NYC. Mr. Bridges was the architect of many of the stores over the years from the 50's to 1999 when SFA was bought yet again and the new owners had their own ideas on construction (my opinion cheap).

    My first project was the escalators for the 5th Avenue store., then the Dadeland Mall Fl, building along with Houston, Tx and Cincinnati, Ohio store with the skywalk. That building had been designed to be clad in Marble but for budget reasons was changed to brick. Those round brick columns were a challenge.

    Along the way I became the project architect/manager for Tulsa Ok, San Antonio Tx (North Star Mall and the boots) Orlando, Fl; Sarasota, Fl; Boca Raton, Fl; Short Hills, NJ; My last new building was Huntington, NY. Other new stores included Palm Springs, Vegas, Sunrise Mall Ft Lauderdale, San Deigo. We did a number of renovations, additions including South Hampton Long Island, Troy, Michigan; Boston, Bala-Cynwyd, Palo Alto. I know I have skated over a number of projects such as Santa Barbara. The store opening parties were always the a huge event, The San Antonio store had circus animals and Carol Burnett.

    Saks bought the Beverly Hills building when it was just the left wing, the wing on the right in the photo above was an addition by Paul Revere Williams an African American Architect. He later added the third addition. We added escalator tower and one story addition in the 90's and studies for a parking deck behind the store as Barneys was building a new store next store. About that time Saks purchased the adjacent department store and created the Mens store.

    The number of buildings and the travel I am afraid is lost to another era. Our firm was small but the staff was great and proud of our projects. Turn over was nearly non existent. Arnold Lezdkalns AIA was the project architect under Mr. Bridges for the Chevy Chase store in the late 50's early 60's and would pull out those gorgeous hand drawn drawings for the store once in awhile so that we could pour over the level of details, we added an escalator years later under Edward Whitfleet with Arnold' s help. Mr. Bridges made Don Lavin his partner and the firm name changed to Bridges and Lavin Architects. Other department store clients included B. Altmans, WJ Sloane, Lord and Taylor, Thalheimers, Gimbels, Bergdorf Goodman (I meet Mr. Goodman while working on one of the numerous departments. He lived on the top floor looking at the park later turned into a Spa).

    The Saks planning and construction staff were first rate to work with and the stories are warm and numerous including a cross country flight from Beverly Hills to NY, detoured due to a north east snow storm to Boston and the electrical contractor was also on the flight and came down with the flu. Everyone snowed in the weekend watched over John. They then memorialized the fated trip with an annual lunch.

    The Saks of yore was a wonderful company/client, a tremendous adventure at the start of my career, one which I will never forget!!!!

    1. Hello! What an interesting job you must've had working on these projects!

      I worked part-time at Saks in Woodland Hills from 1980-84 while I was attending university. Since then, I've had a special affection for Saks Fifth Avenue. I made some wonderful friends at Saks back then and we still get together to this day! I am fascinated by the architecture and history of Saks and their many branch stores. I'm sure you have many wonderful stories!

    2. I opened the Boston store in 1971. Did you by chance do the renovation? I would love to know if you have any photos of the original store before the renovation?

    3. I opened the Boston store in 1971. Did you happen to do the renovation of that store? Do you happen to have photos before the renovation?? I was an incredible store with a huge staircase and hand painted murals in the shoe salon as well as the staircase foyer.

  21. I just started working at Saks selling men's suits, and I have to saythat I'm sorely dissapppointed. Poor customer service and disorganized stockrooms make for a less than stellar shopping experience for well heeled customers. What happened to this legendary retailer? I will stick it out one year.

  22. I wodked at the La Jolla store in the 80s and it was the happiest I have ever been. I had to return to England but have never forgotten the store. The Mission Valley store was not as special, I wonder if it's still there...

  23. I worked at the La Jolla store in the 80s and it was the happiest I have ever been. I had to return to England but have never forgotten the store. The Mission Valley store was not as special, I wonder if it's still there...

  24. I worked at Saks, La Jolla, at that time also. Are you Mary B from the office?

    Dick S

  25. Quite so...The new Bal Harbor store replaced a small Saks store on the corner down the street known as Saks Fith Avenue Surfside. It was still there in 1973.

  26. Richard Baker of Hudson Bay Company has purchased Saks and is making an attempt to turn the store into the icon it once was. He has appointed Maragay McKee as President of Saks who is a tiger, and will try her best to reach Mr Bakers goals. There are a few issues that Mr Baker is unaware of. The people that he has surrounded McKee with both above and below her position are old Saks cronies who were involved in some way with the corruption scandles which resulted in many of the operations staff being removed in handcuffs and serving time in jail. During this period Watross, Levinsen and Scheer were all present and just past over during the investgation as the "honest ones" for collusion, corruption and general dishonesty all lining their pockets with Saks money. Watross left Saks however Levenson and Scheer stayed on staff to take over the reins.

    When Hudson Bay took over Baker natually felt Watross was the man to put back at Saks in charge of all operations back with his two partners in crime!

    Ms Mckees new position is going to be fruitless unless she understands the whole story surrounding this past history.

    These guys are ruthless and will do whatever it takes to maintain a position and have been controlling Saks back operations for years. There are no bids, they just award huge contracts to whoever they want. Money under the table is the norm and not actually having the work completed.
    Saks has this internal organized crime game going on and the flagship store suffers along with the personel that want to try and make it better.

    Ms Mckee had been put into a situation and she is unaware of the history. These clowns will run her in circles, send her chasing her tail until she gets frustrated. No one knows the game better than these three.
    Vaya Con Dios

  27. Does anyone know if Saks was open on Sunday's in the 1960's?

  28. I'm glad Saks is still on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. I don't think there's any other Saks Fifth Avenue stores left in Chicagoland.

  29. Dear Bruce: Thanks for the fantastic job! You're doing a real public service...I mean it!! I noticed that you have the 1952 San Francisco Saks located on Geary...I'm certain that the store was on Grant Avenue, just a few blocks from Chinatown. The store had two small elevators encircled by a staircase (no fine store had escalators in those days!). The two little elevators were always operated by Chinese women in beautiful silk dresses. It seems a bit racist today, but at the time it was certainly unique. Saks first (1952) San Francisco store was called "a little jewel box" by a guide book I used to own and that was an apt description. (The current store on Union Square has all the charm of a J. C. Penney, with an ugly escalator installation running through the center of the building.) The 1952 store had the entrance on Grant Avenue as well as a side entrance on Maiden Lane, which was a charming alley of fine specialty shops. There were just three floors to this original San Francisco Saks and each floor had the feel of a shop within a different from the New York flagship. Thanks again Bruce!

  30. Thank you! You describe, certainly, a lost era. I do with I had a better illustration of the store, and I do keep looking as much as time and budget will allow!

    I appreciate your endorsement!
    - Bruce

  31. What year would these shoes be from?

  32. I remember the real---gift boxes not the folded junk and the Tanglewood Tweed boxes used for apparel items that were not gifts again not collapsed but actual boxes with brown tops I went into the mens department in San Francisco. and if I had been told that I could have anything I wanted for free, I would not have been interested. By the way, SFA used to refer to itself as the largest specialty shop in the world and SAKS-34th as the specialty shop at Herald Square---not as department stores!

  33. I remember modeling kids clothes for saks many years ago. How would I find pictures? I'm having no luck on Google

  34. My father had a business at 42 West 48th St. My earliest memory of Saks was going there with him and my mother to get a winter coat with leggings that were like jodphurs. There was also a matching hat.I was about 4 yeats old. it was a beige outfit trimmed in brown velvet. A was a little princess. After buying it, I wore it out of the store and we went to lunch at the restaurant under Rockefeller Plaza where the Christmas tree was You saw the people ice skating. We ate there every year and looked at the tree until my father died when I was 12. Saks WAS and is still the best Dept. Store in NYC. It's also the best dept. store on Long Island in the Walt Whitman shopping center. I just love the store.

  35. Saks had a summer only store in Petosky Michigan--very resorty and posh. Saks also had a college store in Ann Arbor, Michigan--very sporty and tweedy posh!

  36. Sak's opened a store in downtown Minneapolis in 1989; it was converted into an Off Fifth Avenue outlet sometime in the 90s.

  37. When I was a child, I remember the beautiful Saks Fifth Avenue store in Downtown Atlantic City. We used to go there on special occasions for clothing.

  38. No, they weren’t. None of the major stores were open on Sundays. As far as I know, some department stores tested Sunday hours in 1969 but ‘better’ stores like Saks probably didn’t open on Sundays until the mid to late 1970s at the earliest, and then only mall stores like South Coast Plaza

  39. I worked in the original Saks La Jolla store from 1980 until its closure in 1994. We were never open on Sundays except during the Christmas season; and then from 12 to 5.


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