By  on April 14, 2005

NEW YORK — Barneys New York plans to open a flagship in Boston in spring 2006, representing the chain’s first major expansion move since it was purchased by Jones Apparel Group last December.

For the past few years, Barneys has been opening Co-op contemporary units, which, compared with the Barneys flagships, are much smaller in size and merchandise scope, emphasizing contemporary sportswear and premium denim. Barneys plans to open its eighth Co-op unit in Chevy Chase, Md., in the fall.

But the Boston site demonstrates Barneys and its new owner are serious about growth. The flagship will be in the Copley Place complex, which is owned by Simon Property Group. The main competition there is Neiman Marcus, though there are many specialty stores there including Louis Vuitton, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tiffany, Coach and J. Crew. Barneys will cover 46,000 square feet over two levels, and sell men’s, women’s, cosmetics and accessories. It also will have a Co-op component.

The Boston store will be Barneys’ fourth flagship, and the first to be built in more than 11 years. The other three flagships are situated on Madison Avenue here, in Chicago on Oak Street and in Beverly Hills on Wilshire and Camden. Barneys already operates a smaller unit in the Mall at Chestnut Hill, just outside of Boston. However, Barneys said it is extending the lease on that unit, reflecting a commitment to the Boston area.

Barneys chairman and chief executive officer, Howard Socol, said in a statement that the Boston store will carry an assortment of men’s and women’s apparel, accessories, shoes and cosmetics “reflective of the merchandise in our three existing flagship stores.”

Peter Boneparth, president and ceo of Jones Apparel Group Inc., added in a statement, “The Boston flagship signifies our belief in the considerable untapped potential of the Barneys New York brand and represents a significant step toward the realization of the growth strategy for that brand.” Boneparth has said he believes Barneys can be a billion-dollar business, though there is a long climb ahead. Last year, the chain reported $444.2 million in volume. Jones bought Barneys for $397.3 million.

Socol has been exploring real estate options for flagships in such places as San Francisco’s Union Square. Miami, Washington and Las Vegas, among other cities, are high on the radar screen, as well. Certain cities, such as San Francisco, could house a flagship and a Co-op.“There are some very attractive sites throughout the country that we are exploring right now,” Socol said in a recent interview with WWD. “Obviously, San Francisco makes sense, as does Florida, Boston and Washington. Vegas is a definite possibility. Most definitely, we will be rolling out Co-op stores and more flagship stores over the next four or five years.”

In addition to the three flagships, and the Chestnut Hill unit, there are Barneys New York stores in Manhasset, N.Y., and Seattle. There are also 11 outlets.

Previously, real estate sources have cited Lenox Square in Atlanta, NorthPark Center in Dallas, Fashion Valley in San Diego, Tysons Galleria in Washington and NorthBrook and Old Orchard shopping centers in suburban Chicago as locations that Barneys might consider.

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