By  on July 5, 2007

NEW YORK — Scoop is dipping its toes into the Aegean Sea in the first step of a planned international rollout.

The specialty retailer unveiled a 300-square-foot beach shop in Mykonos, Greece, this week and co-founder Stefani Greenfield said she hopes to replicate the concept internationally in Saint-Tropez, Capri and St. Barth's, among other locations. In a further expansion push, she also will begin wholesaling her Scoop Beach private label collection, and will open a full-line Scoop unit in London late next year.

Greenfield's overseas push comes as the contemporary market in the U.S. continues to boom, yet is becoming increasingly competitive among such specialty retailers as Scoop, Barneys Co-op, Intermix and Calypso (for more on the market, see page 15). More and more contemporary designers — from Marc Jacobs to Nanette Lepore — are opening their own stores, while Neiman Marcus' Cusp is another entry that could further crowd things if the company decides to roll it out after its test period; there currently are three Cusps with another set to open.

Contemporary retailers, which used to have ample elbow room, now find themselves bumping into one another as they flock to the same top malls and shopping thoroughfares. Their assortments often overlap, although each store is merchandised differently, has a distinct point of view and all claim to be highly productive, with sales per square foot of more than $1,000.

Scoop operates four stores in Manhattan and units in Chicago, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Dallas and Greenvale, N.Y. With five stores in Manhattan, Intermix has stores at the Americana Manhasset in Manhasset and in Southampton, both on Long Island. In addition to its 11 Manhattan stores, Calypso has opened units on Long Island in Sag Harbor, Greenport, Southampton, East Hampton, Westhampton and Montauk. The retailer has also branched out to Boston, Chicago, California, Florida and Texas. Calypso's Christianne Celle has opened three stores in Paris and a unit in St. Barths.

For Greenfield, innovations like Scoop Beach and international expansion are ways to further differentiate herself from the pack. Scoop opened its first beach shop in East Hampton in summer 2005 and beach or resort stores have since become popular. Part of their appeal is that retailers believe consumers are more relaxed and therefore willing to spend money on vacation, and resort stores in hotels have a captive audience. J. Crew in May 2004 tested the waters with a delivery business in East Hampton. Sales were so strong that the following summer the company opened its J. Crew At-the-Beach store on Main Street.Greenfield knew her beach shop concept had legs. When she saw the hip Belvedere Hotel in Mykonos, with its Matsuhisa Mykonos restaurant and upcoming Colin Cowie Sea Bar, she knew its owners shared her sensibility. Greenfield, who said she's been summering in Greece for years, said she'd been looking for an international location to test her beach concept.

At first, Greenfield and her partner, Uzi Ben-Avraham, discussed opening a company-owned shop with the Belvedere's owners, brothers Tasos and Nikolas Ioannidis, but eventually decided to simply supply and merchandise the store, which is called the Belvedere Beach Shop Curated by Scoop. Next year she plans to open a 1,000-square-foot Scoop Beach store in the Belvedere.

"Our Scoop Beach formula for East Hampton and the Shore Club Hotel in Miami works," Greenfield said. "We're opening a store in Malibu [Calif.] next year. It's a great way to expand Scoop."

The Ioannidises are developing a property in "St. Moritz and have other projects all over the world. They're working on a few hotels. We'd open in other places."

Scoop Beach is geared toward the casual, carefree lifestyle with caftans, jelabas, pareos and sarongs. "St. Barth's designers epitomize the lifestyle," Greenfield said. Offerings include halter dresses by Poupette, Donale Pour Scoop embroidered shirts and harem pants and Lee Angel for Scoop bangle bracelets.

"I love the Mediterranean lifestyle," Greenfield said. "Everything is done late, you have late lunches and dinner starts at 11 p.m. I think of [Scoop Beach] as head-to-toe beach dressing. I think of Talitha Getty, cotton gauzes with metallic trim, sundresses worn with gold chain belts and colored resin bangles."

With stark white walls, stainless steel fixtures and a gray concrete floor, the Mykonos shop resembles a smaller version of a Scoop store. A section of the shop is dubbed the Belvedere Beauty Bar and is decorated with mirrors and glass. Besides Scoop fragrances, it features London's Cow Shed soaps, India Hicks' Island Living moisturizers and Jo Wood Organics scents. Terme di Salsomaggiore, a line from Italy, is based on thermal iodine waters and Anatomical from London features clever product names such as Giving Good Head Shower Gel and No Old Bags Allowed Eye Cream.Asked for a sales projection for the shop, Greenfield demurred. "The goal is to sell out of everything," she said. "It's a short season, May to September."

Scoop has been expanding its product assortment with categories such as baby's, men's and home in particular stores. It assiduously courts exclusives and co-branded programs, such as the Oliver Peoples for Scoop sunglasses it sells in Mykonos. The retailer has also introduced new concepts such as Scoop It Up, an outlet store on Broadway in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood, blocks away from the 10,000-square-foot megastore at 473-475 Broadway it opened in February.

Scoop has been gearing up to wholesale its branded products. The company ramped up distribution for its private label shoes, which were shipped to 150 stores worldwide this spring. Women's private label apparel also received a push for spring. The collection includes stretch cotton minidresses, $198; silk tube dresses, $345; patent leather clutches, $175; embroidered peasant dresses and blouses, $225 and $185, respectively, and quilted patent leather ballet flats, $165. Co-branded products include Splendid for Scoop rompers $145, Donale for Scoop jumpsuits, $195, and Paige for Scoop Roxbury peg skinny jeans, $190.

"We're launching a new label, Scoop Beach, which we're going to wholesale," Greenfield said. "It's for people to buy 12 months a year."

Scoop Beach will be sold on and in department and specialty stores. "We're represented by Findings Showroom in New York and Los Angeles, which sells our shoes," she said.

Greenfield said a beach store in a hotel has given her the opportunity to further reinforce the Scoop brand. "We designed our own flip-flops and beach bags for the store," she said. "We also outfitted the staff. Adam Lippes of adampluseve designed breakfast uniforms, which are ikat-print shirts and white pants. Scoop designed printed long tube dresses for the reception employees, Stacey Bendet from Alice + Olivia created a black ruffle-front halter top and navy pants, which are worn with Scoop ballet flats for evening, and Michelle Jonas designed the chicest dresses for the hostesses, white minidresses with gold rings."

She added, "We were on the beach today and I saw three Scoop bags. A lot of local Greeks are shopping."

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