By  on June 29, 2009

Juicy Couture launched an intimate apparel store Friday in Las Vegas’ Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, the first of what is expected to be a handful of single-category concepts for the Liz Claiborne Inc.-owned brand.

The 2,200-square-foot boutique, called Love G&P, is on the former site of Juicy Couture’s multicategory location that bowed in 2004. That store moved this year to a 4,800-square-foot slot at Caesars, paving the way for Juicy Couture to create a platform for its fast-growing intimates assortment in a standalone space.

“Intimates is a natural extension to the brand and showcasing it in a close but separate environment felt like a strategic next step,” said Beth Cohn, vice president of retail for Juicy Couture. “This will be the true destination for this category.”

The chain introduced intimate apparel a year ago with nighties, robes, pajama bottoms, sleep tops and underwear ranging from about $15 to $150, with graphics and prints that speak to the brand. Outside of Juicy Couture’s stores, the line is carried in 200 specialty and department store doors, including Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor. Bestsellers include a $60 stripe nightie called Crochet & Charms, Beach and Dog Boxers for $42, a long brushed jersey pant for $65, and a Love, Peace & Juicy pointelle nightie for $58.

When Juicy Couture’s intimate apparel launched, industry sources forecast it would generate $15 million to $20 million in its initial year on the market. Cohn would not comment on volume, but she said the “very successful” run with intimates convinced the brand that the category could support its own store.

“It is a big growth opportunity for Juicy as a brand,” Cohn said. “People want…fashion-driven intimates.”

She wouldn’t project first-year sales at Love G&P (the initials stand for the first names of Juicy founders Gela Nash-Taylor Pamela Skaist-Levy), but said volume would probably be in line with retail sales performance at the Forum Shops. Based on estimated average sales per square foot at the shopping center, Juicy intimates could reach first-year sales of $2 million.

Philip Johnson, vice president of creative services for Juicy Couture, described the aesthetic of Love G&P as “feminine and soft.” Cream and pink are the store’s principle colors, and there are antique mirrors and built-in French armoires that give it a vintage feel. In addition to the intimate apparel selection, there is a fragrance bar and candles.

“It definitely feels like a feminine, old-school women’s foundation department,” Johnson said.

Cohn said there will be more Love G&P doors in the future but declined to detail expansion plans. However, Juicy Couture is considering single-category stores in children’s and accessories, as well. Cohn indicated the single-category stores are most likely to be placed near existing Juicy Couture units in markets where there is a healthy mix of locals and tourists from the U.S. and abroad.

“There is potential for other freestanding concepts,” she said. “We have such a wide product range from women’s to kids to accessories that being able to fit the whole breadth in a store can be challenging.”

Juicy Couture will open three traditionally formatted stores later this year at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, Calif., the Galleria at Roseville in Roseville, Calif., and The Summit in Birmingham, Ala. This will bring its U.S. door count to 65. Juicy Couture’s international door count will total 27 when its store on Bruton Street in London opens in July.

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