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Spanx opening first stand-alone store: Look out, Victoria's Secret

November 01, 2012|By Shan Li
  • Spanx already has in-store shops, like this one in a Bloomingdales in New York. Stand-alone stores will increase the company's visibility, make it easier to test new products and allow it to compete with rivals such as Victoria's Secret, analysts say.
Spanx already has in-store shops, like this one in a Bloomingdales in New… (Spanx )

This post has been corrected. See below for details.

Spanx, the shapewear company that helps women squeeze into chic-but-slightly-too-tight outfits, will open its first stand-alone store Friday at a mall in McLean, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C.

The Atlanta company said the 1,200-square-foot shop at Tysons Corner Center will be the first of several locations opening this fall, including ones in King of Prussia Mall near Philadelphia and Westfield Garden State Plaza in New Jersey.

"The Spanx store will be a place where everybody knows your name -- and your bra size!" Spanx founder and self-made billionaire Sara Blakely said in a statement.

Women hunting for a way to suck in their figures without holding their breath will find plenty of self-affirming -- if overtly cutesy -- elements in the Spanx store.

Quiz: Do you know your premium jeans?

Shoppers will be greeted by "a cheer squad" when entering, then sales clerks with "super-shaping powers" will descend to recommend products such as the $98 smoothing bodysuit to nip in the hips and enhance the thighs without plastic surgery.

Spanx's line of smoothing undergarments is already carried at department stores nationwide, but analysts say that opening its own shops will increase the company's visibility, make it easier to test new product lines and allow it to compete with huge rivals such as Victoria's Secret.

The company has come a long way since its founding in 2000. On the Spanx website, Blakely said she sold the first body-shaper to Neiman Marcus by taking the buyer to a bathroom and demonstrating the before-and-after effect on her own clothes. More than a decade later, Spanx is estimated to pull in sales nearing $250 million in 2011.

Laurie Ann Goldman, Spanx's chief executive, hinted at the company's huge ambitions by pointing out that the upscale Tysons Corner was also home to the first Apple store.

"Not bad retail karma!" she said.

[3:42 p.m.: A previous version of the post mistakenly attributed a "karma" quote from Goldman to Blakely instead.]

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Follow Shan Li on Twitter @ShanLi

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