Express Evolution

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Express lovers, rejoice: The Easton Town Center store has recently reopened after several months of renovation, and let me tell you, it's gorgeous. The old design never really suited my shopping fancy, with its long and narrow set-up that spread the clothes over abundant white space. But I am truly amazed at the transformation, which includes distinct men's and women's sections of the stores, a new Denim Lab and a room dedicated solely to accessories. It's fun, vibrant and easy to shop. By the end of the year, the company hopes to implement the new design in 55 stores, which amounts to 7 percent of the fleet. I had the chance to chat with Michael Weiss, president, chairman and CEO of Express about the store concept and what we can expect from Express this fall (don't worry, girls, Weiss says that glitter is not gone!). –Heather Weekley, @heather_weekley

What is the idea behind the new Express store design?

The major reason was to reconceptualize the business into a story business, not an item business, so the store would look more coherent. We want to make a better customer experience. We have really separated ourselves, and we had to illustrate that.People understand that we have high-quality merchandise, and we have to show that. It's the evolution of the store, the merchandise and the fashion.

What fashions and trends will we see reflected in Express' fall clothing and accessories?

Color is still extremely important in both men's and women's clothing. We see large shapes very important in tops in combination with very skinny pants. Skirts are either longer or straight, or for parties they are as short as it gets. We see narrow lapels in the form of jackets. And soft tops - a lot of very soft, easy fabrics that used to be construed as dressy and now are not.

Where do you see Express as a brand and a store headed in the future?

I think we will become increasingly a fashion brand that has a real thrust toward the total look.