The Aventura Mall in North Miami Beach is betting $125 million on affluence.
That's the price tag of a 232,000-square-foot wing that opened last month featuring Nordstrom and 22 specialty stores that are intended to attract wealthy international visitors and consumers from the region even as the U.S. economy navigates a turbulent period.
With sales last year averaging $1,200 a square foot, compared with $1,000 in 2006 and $500 10 years ago, the now 2.8 million-square-foot mall, which has 280 specialty units, six department stores and eight restaurants, is among the largest and most productive in the U.S.
"Only three or four malls in the country do that kind of sales," said Herbert Leeds, president of Miami-based Leeds Business Consulting. "Aventura attracts high-fashion, trendy tourists and residents that remain remarkably self-indulgent."
The center draws about 24 million shoppers annually who have an average household income of $79,000, mall officials said. In addition to locals, South American, Canadian and European visitors are shopping to take advantage of the weakness of the dollar. Last year, 40 percent of Aventura's sales were from international customers.
The new wing's stores and restaurants are a mix of domestic, regional and international players, said Joseph P. Tagliola, president of retail for Turnberry Associates, Aventura's parent company, which built the mall 20 years ago. Several tenants, such as Boss Hugo Boss and Calvin Klein, are flagships or the brand's first retail location in South Florida. Half of the wing's units, which also include M Missoni, Lilly Pulitzer and Gilly Hicks, have opened and the rest are to make their debut by the end of summer.
In addition to the new wing, many stores launched in the core mall last year because 40 percent of Aventura's retailers did not renew 10-year leases, Tagliola said. The turnover made room for Lacoste, Juicy Couture, Michael Kors, Theory and other contemporary and designer stores.
The 160,000-square-foot Nordstrom opened Feb. 15, the chain's eighth location in Florida.
"We're still new and growing into our potential in Florida," said Pete Nordstrom, vice president, merchandising. "Short-term effects of the economy are everywhere, but we see it more in California, because we've been there for 30 years."Aventura is known as a "designer" store, a designation for about one-third of Nordstrom's 157 units. Apparel from Burberry Prorsum, Jean Paul Gaultier and Versace is complemented by accessories, handbags and shoes from Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Manolo Blahnik, Valentino and Marc Jacobs.
Nordstrom's designer growth is "surprisingly strong," Pete Nordstrom said. "We just plunk Chanel or Gucci product in a store like [the one in] Minneapolis' Mall of America. You wouldn't think of it as a Rodeo Drive, but the business takes off."
In designated stores, Nordstrom expands designer product across all categories, and focuses on unique items.
"Our designer approach used to be haphazard," Nordstrom said. "We know we can't just offer a handbag — we have to drive it across all areas."
Nordstrom is testing new ideas in Aventura. "Girlfriend" dressing rooms in the point of view department have moveable curtains that allow customers to try on clothes together. An apartment-style setting in juniors encourages teens to spend more time in the store.
At Aventura, Nordstrom joins Bloomingdale's, which also added more designer merchandise last year, including a Louis Vuitton in-store shop, and additional merchandise from Fendi, David Yurman and Tory Burch.
Macy's, J.C. Penney and Sears are also anchors.
Calvin Klein is to open a 10,000-square-foot store in Aventura on April 24, its seventh in a national retail rollout that began last year.
"We do well with Asian and European tourists, because our brand is known worldwide," said John Walsh, president and chief operating officer of Calvin Klein Inc. "We've had one of our best years in Florida, with double-digit comp gains in our outlet business and good growth in our department store sales."
With a freestanding store in South Beach launched last summer, AG Adriano Goldschmeid also opens in Aventura this spring. Frank Pizzurro, vice president of retail, said a spike in European tourists since November has offset slow summer business. He expects Aventura to generate more traffic than the South Beach store.
"Aventura will draw from a wider trading area, and we'll benefit from being near Nordstrom, where our customer also shops," he said.Atlanta-based Intimacy opened its second prototype — the first launched in Boston in February — and its fifth store in Aventura last month. The 3,000-square-foot store adds more designer and bra-size swimwear, from Carmen Marc Valvo, Karla Colletto and Panache, for the tropical demographic.
Owner Susan Nethero said Aventura had the highest potential of all locations. "It's unique, because of the population diversity, the international tourism and the lack of bra-fitting specialists in the area," she said.
Aventura's expansion follows a $22 million renovation last year and the launch of Turnberry for the Arts Collection. Several site-specific permanent and rotating art exhibits by local, national and international artists are put on display. Jorge Pardo's hanging butterfly lamps are suspended over the mall's main fountain, and Julian Opie's LED monolithic sculptures are life-size animated figures that appear to "walk" alongside mall guests.
With the ultraluxe Bal Harbour Shops less than 10 miles south, Aventura "bridges high fashion and commodity," Leeds said.
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews