By  on April 7, 2006

NEW YORK — Barneys New York is going to Las Vegas as part of its aggressive flagship buildup in major U.S. cities.

The luxury retailer said Thursday it would anchor the Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino being constructed next to the Venetian. Barneys plans a three-level, 85,000-square-foot store that will have an entrance off the Strip and valet parking. It is scheduled to open in the fall of 2007.

Howard Socol, Barneys' chairman, chief executive officer and president, described the venture as the first fashion specialty store of significant size and scope in a Las Vegas resort. Major competitors Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue are in the Fashion Show Mall, also on the Strip.

The announcement confirmed WWD reports.

"The idea that a new casino, new hotel and a whole new retail center is being built around us is absolutely fantastic," Socol said. "Las Vegas has been one of the real success stories in retailing with the amount of business people are doing."

More flagships and Barneys Co-ops are expected to be announced in the months ahead. San Francisco, Atlanta, San Diego, Miami, Washington and the Chicago metro area are among the sites being considered for stores. Barneys also is said to have scouted SoHo, along Broadway, and the Meatpacking District, near 14th and Gansevoort Streets, in Manhattan.

The retailer is seeking to become a billion-dollar business by rolling out through 2008 flagships of at least 50,000 to 80,000 square feet featuring a full representation of designer and private label merchandise, and Barneys Co-op shops. The company last year posted $444.2 million in volume.

The expansion is apparently unaffected by the decision last month of Barneys parent, Jones Apparel Group, to put itself up for sale. However, a new owner could have an impact on the Barneys rollout. "Anybody interested in Jones and Barneys is only going to want to see the Barneys expansion continue," Socol said.

"Until things are signed, you never know, but we are working very hard to finalize situations — flagships and Co-ops," Socol said.

Barneys opened a flagship in Boston on March 10. Socol said the two-level, 45,000-square-foot store, which is in the Copley Place complex, has been "very much above plan," though he did not give any numbers. "It's given us a lot of energy," he said.

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