By  on February 21, 2008

The Russian is coming.

Kira Plastinina, the 15-year-old design phenom from Moscow, is ready to storm the U.S. this year with a strategy for opening stores on both coasts.

At least a dozen units in the New York and Los Angeles metropolitan areas will be operating by the end of July, Bob Higgins, senior vice president, retail development and operations of Kira Plastinina, said Wednesday. A minimum of 50 U.S. stores are envisioned by 2010.

"We actually feel like we are being real cautious and strategic," Higgins said. "The stores are either on premier streets or in A malls."

The collection emphasizes denim, tops and day and evening dresses. Plastinina has an average price point of $48 and is aimed at girls and women aged 15 to 25 who crave fashion.

Plastinina's first U.S. store is to open May 2 at 594 Broadway between Houston and Prince Streets in SoHo. The 3,100-square-foot site, which has 2,500 square feet for selling, is projected to generate $3 million in volume, Higgins said.

Two additional Manhattan leases have been signed: a 3,500-square-foot store at 509 Fifth Ave., between 42nd and 43rd Streets, and a 5,600-square-foot unit at 22 West 34th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

In Los Angeles, Plastinina is taking a 3,450-square-foot space at 1413 Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, and a 1,400-square-foot space at 346 North Beverly Drive. Locations also are set for Stamford Town Center in Connecticut and Beverly Center in Los Angeles.

PBS Real Estate principals Laura Pomerantz and Betty Ende represented Kira Plastinina in all seven transactions.

Ende said the objective is to locate near other tenants that draw junior or young contemporary customers, and where there is a level of affluence.

Like many girls her age, Kira takes in a diet of pop culture. She loves Paris Hilton and the Olsen twins, Italian craftsmanship and hot pink.

Higgins described the store prototype as "very feminine, with a boutique setting and a contemporary exterior — not mass market or like the Gap....This is definitely a specialty store experience, very residential and very comfortable. We're taking the DNA from the Russian stores and blowing it up a little bit and having some fun. There are touches of white, metals and wood, and Kira's signature pink."Plastinina, who turns 16 in June, is backed by her father Sergey Plastinin, director of Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods ADS, Russia's largest dairy and fruit producer. "Sergey would like to have 500 stores internationally," Higgins said. "Right now we have somewhere around 40 in the Russian Federation."

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