By  on December 19, 2005

NEW YORK — Barneys New York is blazing ahead with its nationwide expansion plans in major metropolitan markets.

The retailer is said to be looking at sites from Long Island in New York to Las Vegas and everywhere in between for full-sized flagships. It fits in with Barneys' drive to build itself into a $1 billion business under new owner Jones Apparel Group.

The expansion is the second time Barneys has attempted to roll out flagships after its ill-fated attempt in the Nineties. Barneys also faces increasing competition this time around in the turbulent retail landscape.

The Neiman Marcus Group will soon announce a prototype for smaller stores selling contemporary merchandise and has been eyeing a few locations to launch it, including Chevy Chase, Md. Also, Nordstrom this year bought Jeffrey, a designer store in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan and Atlanta, and could open additional Jeffrey stores.

With a great deal of space in malls being abandoned by retailers that are consolidating, developers are seeking to upgrade the offering with new retail formats, restaurants or other forms of entertainment. Federated Department Stores will be selling off dozens of locations.

In an interview earlier this year, Howard Socol, chairman, chief executive and president of Barneys, said, "Right now, we are very busy planning through 2008. The number-one priority is to roll out flagships. Co-Ops are number two."

In Vegas, sources said Barneys is on the floor plans for The Shoppes at The Palazzo, opening in fall 2007, a major upscale project in The Venetian Resort. The Venetian is owned by General Growth Properties, the nation's second largest mall developer.

On Long Island, Barneys is in talks with Taubman Centers, which is planning a mall in Oyster Bay. Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom are lined up to be tenants there as well.

Those sites are in addition to the previously announced Barneys Boston flagship scheduled to open in Copley Place in the spring, and a Barneys opening in NorthPark Center in Dallas this fall. An announcement on the Dallas site — in a former Lord & Taylor store — is expected soon and the store should be open by next fall. Other locations may not be announced for some time.

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