By  on May 21, 2013

Sandro has made its first U.S. retail stop outside of New York at The Forum Shops at Caesars in Las Vegas as it rolls out stores nationally.

Opened Thursday, the nearly 2,000-square-foot store gives shoppers in the U.S. a glimpse at Sandro’s new retail concept, initially unveiled on Avenue Victor Hugo in Paris last December, before it will be fully in place with the brand’s next store, set for September or October on Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills. The most obvious difference on display in Las Vegas is the sleek limestone storefront, a switch from Sandro’s previous wooden black facade.

“The entire concept was updated as the brand now is exponentially growing 50 percent a year in the number of locations,” said Patrick Valeo, president and chief operating officer of the American arm of the French brands Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot. “It really is an evolution for the next chapter of the brand.”

The updated store design is intended to elevate Sandro’s brand positioning with a clean, geometric look. It features white walls, marble till, wood podiums, an onyx cash wrap and a herringbone floor, an element that is made in Paris and Valeo noted couldn’t be put in the Las Vegas location because the time needed to construct it was too long for the rapid six-week store build-out schedule.

Discussing the store design being unveiled in its entirety later this year at the upcoming unit on Beverly Drive, Valeo said, “The whole look and feel will be very different from today. The Beverly Hills store is well over 2,000 square feet. It will be the largest store in the U.S., and it will be a great showcase.”

The Forum Shops’ traffic, productivity and retail roster convinced Valeo that it would be a good choice for Sandro’s U.S. push beyond New York. “It is a location where everyone is going to be at some point during their stay in Las Vegas. For the first one [in Las Vegas] I think it is important to be there,” he said. “You couldn’t pick a location that is more visible, where you have a concentration of U.S. people. It is good too because you have a large population coming from China and Korea to Vegas and even from markets like Hawaii. As we expand into the Asian market further, that gives us great visibility.”

As will be the case in Beverly Hills, the Las Vegas store incorporates Sandro’s men’s collection. The men’s items occupy 30 to 35 percent of the retail space. Constituting some 10 percent of sales, accessories, on the other hand, don’t have dedicated areas and are largely mixed into the ready-to-wear assortment.

Sandro, which along with Maje and Claudie Pierlot was acquired by private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. this year, is on track to operate as many as 50 U.S. stores by the end of the year, according to Valeo. There are already four units in New York, where Valeo believes there could be eight to 10 Sandro stores. Another New York store will open on Columbus Avenue this summer, most likely July. Valeo predicted that average sales per square foot at Sandro stores in the U.S. would reach $2,000 this year. Sandro has 250 stores worldwide.

Sandro has also signed a lease to open on Fillmore Street in San Francisco and is close to signing one for a store in Aventura Mall in Aventura, Fla. Other possibilities for future Sandro stores in the U.S. are the Miami Design District, The Galleria and Highland Village in Houston, the unfinished retail complex American Dream in East Rutherford, N.J., and the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg.

Sandro also is expanding its in-store shops at department stores. It has four at Nordstrom stores and 17 at Bloomingdale’s doors, with six more to be added shortly. By the end of the year, the total number of in-store shops is expected to be 50.

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