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.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over the top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty