By  on December 12, 2006

NEW YORK — Raising the stakes on its aggressive national expansion, Barneys New York has signed an agreement in principle to operate a flagship in the Scottsdale Fashion Square in Arizona, WWD has learned.

The 65,000-square-foot, two-level flagship will be the luxury chain's first store in the state and is to open in fall 2009, pending a lease agreement.

It's just the latest in a string of flagship openings recently announced by Barneys. Next up are two flagships in 2007, in San Francisco on Stockton Street near Union Square and in Las Vegas at the Venetian Resort Hotel complex.

This year, Barneys flagships — richly stocked with exclusive designer offerings — have opened in Boston's Copley Place and the NorthPark Center in Dallas. The other flagships are in Manhattan, Beverly Hills and Chicago. There are smaller stores in Chestnut Hill, Mass.; Seattle, and Manhasset, N.Y. The Manhasset unit is closing this month. However, the company expects to make up the volume by opening a larger store in Oyster Bay on Long Island, where a mall has been proposed by Taubman Centers. Construction has been stalled by litigation and community concerns.

The vision is to launch flagships of about 50,000 to 80,000 square feet through 2008 while rolling out Co-ops, which specialize in contemporary sportswear and premium denim. Barneys hopes to grow to at least $1 billion in sales, more than doubling its current volume.

Other possible locations for Barneys flagships are: Atlanta, San Diego, Miami, Washington and the Chicago metro area.

Barneys is part of Jones Apparel Group, which this year put itself up for sale. But no deal was reached and Jones was pulled off the market. There has been speculation that, with Barneys building itself up — and said to be performing well in its ambitious, but risky, rollout — the retailer could one day be spun off. Howard Socol, chairman and chief executive officer of Barneys, could not be reached for comment.

Scottsdale Fashion Square, like many malls around the U.S., is striving to elevate the quality of its tenant mix. Along with disclosing the Barneys plan, David Scholl, senior vice president of development for the Westcor division of The Macerich Co., which owns Scottsdale Fashion Square, said Bottega Veneta has been signed on to open a 2,100-square-foot store in the center in spring 2008.Macerich, Scholl added, also approached Bloomingdale's last week, though Michael Gould, chairman and ceo of Bloomingdale's, stressed that no decision has been made on an Arizona location and that talks have been held with other developers. Bloomingdale's does not operate in Arizona.

Scottsdale Fashion Square is anchored by Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Macy's and Dillard's.

Barneys will locate in a prime spot by two intersections, Camelback and Scottsdale Roads. It will move into part of a former Robinsons-May site that Macerich purchased from Federated Department Stores. That will be demolished along with a parking structure that wraps around the former store. A junior department store could fit in the space, while a Bloomingdale's-type anchor could work in a separate parcel on the property that currently is unfilled.

Macerich bought two other Macy's sites in Arizona, in the Paradise Valley Mall and Fiesta Mall, and will find new tenants for those locations.

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