LOS ANGELES — Neiman Marcus plans to open its first store in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley, a 120,000-square-foot space that will be an anchor of the Westfield Shoppingtown Topanga.

“We look forward to bringing our quality merchandise assortments and our renowned services to the San Fernando Valley market,’’ Burt Tansky, president and chief executive officer of the Neiman Marcus Group, said in a written statement. “We see the growth and development of this portion of the Los Angeles market as an excellent opportunity.’’

The two-level luxury store is set to open in 2008. It would be an anchor for Westfield Shoppingtown’s 1.6 million-square-foot, $300 million redevelopment, which includes 600,000 square feet of retail space, a cafe-style food pavilion and three new covered parking structures.

Dallas-based Neiman Marcus, which is expected to formally announce the project today, has four stores in California. They are in Beverly Hills, San Diego, San Francisco and Fashion Island in Newport.

“The San Fernando Valley is really coming of age and there’s a tremendous population base and upscale demographic,” said Richard Green, vice chairman of Westfield’s U.S. operations. “Neiman’s is going to be the catalyst that broadens the market and brings an upscale trading that doesn’t exist now.

“We will attract a whole host of luxury and high-end type of tenants with many of the same stores you traditionally have with a Neiman Marcus,” Green said.

Young professionals and families are fueling retail growth in the San Fernando Valley as they move from pricier areas in metropolitan Los Angeles in search of more affordable housing. The Valley has had 3.5 percent population growth from 1998 to 2003.

Westfield, which is based in Australia, is among the biggest U.S. mall developers.

— Michelle Dalton Tyree

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