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Here’s How Saks Fifth Avenue Plans to Advance DEI Efforts

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Saks Fifth Avenue said it wants to hire, advance and promote BIPOC (black, indigenous and other people of color) talent into 40% of roles at the manager level and above by 2023 in its drive for inclusivity in the hiring process.

The New York-based department store chain recently unveiled its goals to advance its diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts, which it says were developed upon taking an in-depth look at every aspect of the Saks Fifth Avenue ecosystem.

“Over the last year, the intensifying conversation around equality and social justice has made it clear there is more work to be done to improve representation, including within the fashion industry,” said Marc Metrick, the retailer’s CEO. “We’ve taken the time to listen and learn, so that our plans can have a meaningful and lasting impact for our customers, employees, partners and communities. Sharing this roadmap is a pivotal milestone in our efforts and we remain committed to making Saks Fifth Avenue an inclusive experience for everyone.”

Larry Bruce, president of SFA, the entity that owns Saks Fifth Avenue’s store fleet, said the retailer always strives to deliver a service-led, in-store experience where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

“With our roadmap, we have actionable goals to drive progress across Saks Fifth Avenue, helping ensure that each person — whether visiting, working or merely passing through one of our locations — knows that they are welcome and belong,” Bruce added.

In addition to hiring, advancing and promoting BIPOC talent into 40% of roles, Saks Fifth Avenue also offered these objectives:

• Building community resilience: The company wants to direct 60% of grants annually from the Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation to support underserved communities and mobilize employees to donate time within their local communities by instituting a corporate volunteer program, “Saks Serves.”

• Investing in Black designers: The company wants to increase total sales of Black-owned, -designed or -led brands by about $100 million by strategically expanding its merchandise assortment and supporting the growth of emerging brands, including the establishment of the Saks Emerging Designer Program which was established to develop high-potential independent brands. With Saks Fifth Avenue’s commitment to increasing representation in its assortment, the program, presented by Mastercard, will emphasize BIPOC talent — ensuring that each year half of the participants will be BIPOC-owned, the company said.

“Our goal is to provide the opportunity for these talented creators to thrive over the long term at Saks Fifth Avenue and across the greater fashion industry,” said Tracy Margolies, the retailer’s chief merchandising officer. “The development of this program furthers our commitment to not only increasing representation in our assortment, but also using our platform and industry resources to help emerging brands succeed. At the same time, it directly supports our mission to help our customers express their identities through relevant and inspiring style.”

As part of its commitment to grow sales among Black-owned, designed- and led- brands, Saks has added 38 brands to its assortment, including Busayo, Kimberly Goldson, LaQuan Smith, Stella Jean, A-COLD-WALL and Ree Projects, among others.

“We’re excited to be able to introduce these new brands to our customers as we work to drive greater representation within our merchandise assortment,” Margolies said. “As a leading luxury fashion destination, we work every day to ensure we offer our customers an experience for exploration and discovery of new fashion.”

Saks Fifth Avenue is the premier destination for luxury fashion, driven by a mission to help customers express themselves through relevant and inspiring style. Since 1924, it has delivered one-of-a-kind shopping experiences, featuring an expertly curated assortment of fashion and highly personalized customer service. Saks Fifth Avenue’s unique approach combines an emphasis on the digital customer experience with a strong connection to a network of 40 extraordinary stores across North America for seamless, all-channel shopping.

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