By  on March 20, 2007

NEW YORK — It's "auf Wiedersehen, Jil" and "ciao, Miu Miu" on 57th Street.

A Jil Sander spokesman confirmed on Monday that the brand is relocating its flagship at 11 East 57th Street and is looking for two units in Manhattan, though specific locations haven't been determined. Miu Miu will take over the 7,000-square-foot unit after Jil Sander vacates it within a year.

The 57th Street space is in the center of one of the priciest retail real estate stretches in Manhattan, home to Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Christian Dior, Burberry, Yves Saint Laurent, Montblanc and Nokia.

For Jil Sander, the move is part of its strategy to reposition the brand and expand its retail network worldwide. The company recently opened stores in Tokyo, Osaka, Frankfurt, Rome and Naples and is also relocating its unit on Avenue Montaigne in Paris. A new store concept developed by Jil Sander creative director Raf Simons is expected to be unveiled in London this year.

It is believed that the 57th Street store, which opened in September 2002, has been challenged to make a profit. That said, Jil Sander is set for growth after London private equity group Change Capital acquired it from Prada Group in February 2006. Simons has been garnering rave reviews in the three seasons he has designed the collection.

Prada, meanwhile, has stepped up its efforts for Miu Miu and has been investing heavily in creating a separate identity for it, from showing the collections in Paris, to hiring Michelle Kessler Sanders as Miu Miu's president in the U.S., a new role. Miu Miu is expected to bring to 57th Street its new store concept, which was launched in Milan, Paris and London last fall, and features design elements such as Italian silk damasks with perforated or undulating steel panels, mirror-top coffee tables and ivory-colored rugs.

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