Central Park is New York City’s 843-acre backyard, an important public space that welcomes over 42 million visitors annually. The City of New York entrusts the Central Park Conservancy with the complete day-to-day care of this iconic public space, with more than 300 Conservancy employees tending to the Park’s complex maintenance, restoration, and architectural needs.

The main visitor centers in the park are located at the Dairy (65th Street), Belvedere Castle (79th Street) and at the Columbus Circle Kiosk (59th Street), and they each house Conservancy stores.

Central Park - The Dairy, Belvedere Castle & Columbus Circle Kiosk
View of the Dairy Visitor Center and Gift Shop. Central Park Conservancy.
Central Park Monochrome Eco-Tote. Central Park Conservancy.
Central Park Monochrome Eco-Tote. Central Park Conservancy.

MRP was engaged to re-merchandise these three key locations and improve the performance of the stores. We started with a deep dive on the assortment, with analysis on a category-by-category, SKU-by-SKU basis keyed to the amount of display area in order to assess space productivity. We adjusted the amount of fixture space allocated to each category, then re-organized the displays, improving the visual merchandising and adding storytelling signage and features.

Performance was dramatically improved. Sales at Belvedere Castle increased 101% year over year. The Learning category was up 203%. Accessories increased 118% and Apparel increased 117%. One tote product line increased 604%.

At the Dairy, sales were up 52% overall, with Jewelry sales increasing 119%. Individual products, properly merchandised, reached 483%, 245%, and other large increases with proper exposure.

The most significant increases took place at the Kiosk. There sales increased 130% year over year. Even in a small space with unforgiving static fixtures, a thorough re-thinking of the product assortment along with display changes resulted in strong performance improvement.

MRP also advised on the introduction of two new merchandise themes for the Conservancy, together with partners Winter Design Group, who brought the products to life. These themes, celebrating the park’s iconic benches and well-known logo, brought a modern and mission related feel to the assortment. With just a few SKUs each to tell the stories at launch, they added strongly to the robust holiday 2023 season, and capitalizing on the design improvements made to the retail stores.

Project Details

  • Client: Central Park Conservancy

  • Year:  2023

  • Location: New York, NY

  • Size: 1,160 SF and 400 SF Stores + Kiosk

  • Partners: Winter Design Group, Product Development