By  on June 21, 2012

Men’s specialty retailer Onassis Clothing will open its second New York store, in the 30 Rockefeller Center building, in August. The new 1,500-square-foot unit, at 61 West 49th Street, joins an existing Onassis flagship at 71 Greene Street in SoHo.

“Tishman Speyer actually approached us, which surprised us a bit because we’re still a small company,” said Michelle Li, vice president of operations and development at Onassis, of the real estate firm that co-owns and manages Rockefeller Center. “I think they are trying to create a new mix of stores in the area.”

The changing landscape of retail nameplates in the heavily trafficked center include Free People, which opened in March at 10 West 49th St., and Loft, which opened in May at 1230 Avenue of the Americas. A Longchamp unit is set to open June 30 at 610 Fifth Avenue. In November, a 13,000-square-foot Aritzia flagship will open at 600 Fifth Avenue, joining other existing tenants in the center including Michael Kors, Coach, J. Crew, Banana Republic, Brooks Brothers, Anthropologie, Anne Fontaine, Tous and Cole Haan.

The Onassis store will replace a longtime souvenir shop and is less than half the size of the company’s 3,500-square-foot SoHo unit, which includes a café. The brand sells its own line of Americana-inspired designs with European fits on the lower end of contemporary price points.

Designed by Boston-based Analogue Studio, the new store is meant to evince a rustic feel, with wood floors and fixtures accessorized with vintage furniture and flea-market finds. While it’s smaller than its SoHo counterpart, Onassis is expecting the store to generate sales per square foot double that of SoHo, based on foot-traffic patterns.

Onassis opened in SoHo in August 2010, and spring sales were up 75 percent over the previous year, said Li. The company is owned by a group of Asia-based investors, including a Chinese apparel manufacturer who handles production of the Onassis collections. The partners plan to open up to 10 additional U.S. stores over the next three years. “We’re being very selective in where we open, and we want to make sure we have the team in place to grow our retail base,” said Li.

Onassis has focused on its own retail business and has only a single wholesale account with a Provincetown, Mass., store. However, it plans to enter the wholesale channel more aggressively in the next few seasons, said Li.

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