Mauboussin, a 180-year-old French jeweler, plans to arrive on the U.S. market next September in grand style: planting a 7,000-square-foot, five-floor boutique at 714 Madison Avenue in Manhattan, complete with a chocolate "bar" and a VIP loft apartment.
PARIS — Mauboussin, a 180-year-old French jeweler, plans to arrive on the U.S. market next September in grand style: planting a 7,000-square-foot, five-floor boutique at 714 Madison Avenue in Manhattan, complete with a chocolate "bar" and a VIP loft apartment.
It's the latest bold move for the Place Vendôme firm, which has parlayed its reputation for colored stones, and particularly rings, into a fast-growing business.
Owned by French entrepreneur Dominique Frémont, Mauboussin doubled its sales in the past three years to reach 25 million euros, or $34 million, in 2006. And it is aiming to top 60 million euros, or $81.6 million, by the end of 2011 as it pursues international expansion, said managing director Alain Némarq.
"We decided five years ago to become a fashion jeweler," Némarq explained, detailing a change in lifestyles that has put women at the forefront of jewelry purchases. "She doesn't choose something for eternity: She's choosing something for her present emotion," he explained.
The forthcoming New York flagship — which Némarq prefers to call a "temple" — will introduce American consumers to a brand that made waves in France by including prices in its advertising campaigns and by using grades of stones once considered unthinkable for a Place Vendôme house.
Its fastest-growing price tier is between 750 euros and 3,000 euros, or $1,020 to $4,080, he noted.
Mauboussin is the latest European jeweler to either open or expand stores on the stretch of Madison Avenue between East 60th and 70th Streets, joining the likes of Graff, Asprey, Chopard, Kwiat and Leviev.
Némarq said he plans to commission a New York artist to envision the Madison Avenue store. Billing itself as an "artistic jeweler," Mauboussin recently granted carte blanche to artist Aki Kuroda to decorate the Champs-Elysées flagship here, slated to reopen in November with a new look and a chocolate bar.
France accounts for some 60 percent of Mauboussin's business, generated at three Paris boutiques and some 120 other points of sale. Asia represents an important region, with 45 doors in Japan, including seven shop-in-shops, and the brand is already implanted in Russia.Product extensions within the firm include a new women's fragrance, Emotion Divine, being introduced next month and a range of sunglasses, produced in-house, coming in April.
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