By  on October 30, 2007

ATLANTA — Lenox Square mall is freshening its luxury recipe with a twist of trend-driven fashion.

A new $53 million wing, including Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Neiman Marcus, combines the high-end retail for which the center is known and hip boutiques that appeal to young consumers.

"Lenox Square has always had luxury stores, but what's lacking is the more contemporary fashion statements for the 20- to 30-year-olds that shop here," said Tisha Maley, assistant vice president of leasing for Simon Property Group, owner of Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza, located across Peachtree Street in the city's Buckhead section, 10 miles north of downtown. The malls generate about $1 billion in annual sales.

"Lenox is in the Michigan Avenue model of stores, with a broad, aspirational customer base looking for national and international brands," Maley said. "The Phipps customer is more feminine, discerning, and looking more for fashion than brands, more like the Madison Avenue mix of stores."

The 35,000-square-foot addition was created when Neiman Marcus added 52,000 square feet to its existing 153,722-square-foot store. Construction was finished this fall, with remodeling of Neiman's men's, women's and home areas continuing over the next 12 to 18 months.

Along with Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein, the mall wing, extending out from Neiman's third floor, has attracted five stores new to Atlanta. Zara, the Swedish fast-fashion specialty chain, opened a 10,000-square-foot unit. In addition, Diesel, Miss Sixty and True Religion launched in recent weeks, as did Shabby Chic, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based home and accessories line.

The Calvin Klein store, owned and operated by CKI, a division of Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., is one of five locations picked for the company's retail expansion of its better-priced Calvin Klein white label. PVH revealed the strategy at its annual meeting in June.

"Atlanta is a young and emerging market," said Tom Murry, CKI's president and chief operating officer. "We were looking for the top five retail locations in the U.S., based on demographics, buying power and consumer patterns in the stores we're in." Murry said sales per square foot for Calvin Klein merchandise in Atlanta department stores, such as Neiman Marcus and Macy's, are above company average, especially for sportswear and jeans. He did not provide figures.

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