By  on June 27, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO — Cartier is more than doubling its retail space here to create the high-end jeweler's third U.S. flagship, set to open in August.

The flagship designation is intended to reflect San Francisco's position as Cartier's third largest revenue generator in North America, a company spokeswoman said. The other North American flagships are Cartier's top U.S. store, located on Fifth Avenue in New York, and the second-ranked unit on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

"San Francisco is our main priority in retail this year," said Frédéric de Narp, Cartier's chief executive officer in the U.S.

He noted the store does a healthy business in one-of-a-kind requests with price tags that "regularly" cost upward of $1 million. "There is a huge margin for growth" in San Francisco business, de Narp said.

Cartier is relocating across from its single-level, 2,700-square-foot space on Post Street in the heart of the Union Square shopping district. The new two-story, 6,500-square-foot store will be the only U.S. unit besides the Fifth Avenue flagship with a watch salon carrying the company's full timepiece line. There also will be a bridal boutique, an area being emphasized throughout Cartier's 27 U.S. and two Canadian stores.

Cartier, founded in Paris in 1847, has been on Post Street for 23 years, a locale that's evolved as Jewelers Row. Competitors on the two-block stretch include French jeweler Boucheron — its only U.S. location, which opened in 2002 — and Italy's Bulgari, which has a second San Francisco store at the airport among its 18 U.S. stores.

Local fine jeweler Shreve & Co., which opened in 1852 during the Gold Rush, has been at the corner of Post and Grant Streets since 1906 in one of the few buildings to survive that year's devastating earthquake. Shapur Mozaffarian is another San Francisco high-end jewelry and watch store on Post Street. Gump's is on the thoroughfare, competing for tabletop, corporate gift and high-end costume jewelry business. It also is a popular destination for brides. And Tiffany & Co. is nearby, with a prime location on Union Square.

The Post Street expansion is one of several Cartier relocations or renovations under way in the U.S. After the San Francisco opening, this fall new or renovated Cartier stores will bow in Palm Beach and Boca Raton, Fla., and in Topanga, Calif. A boutique in Neiman Marcus in White Plains, N.Y., is on tap, as well.

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