MIAMI BEACH — This city hasn’t shown much affection for multibrand lingerie stores — three specialty boutiques shut down this year — but monobrand stores are giving it a try.
OndadeMar and Cosabella opened on Eighth Street in September and October, respectively, located around the corner from Victoria Secret’s scheduled South Beach location, which is set for a fall 2009 opening.
OndadeMar founder and creative director Pily Queipo said the Medellin, Colombia-based swimwear and lingerie brand’s first company-owned U.S. store is part of global expansion in the next year that will include franchises in Dubai, Mexico, Central America and Thailand. The company owns 12 boutiques and operates three franchises in Colombia.
Queipo isn’t worried about the economy.
“We were prepared for slow sales in the beginning, since we opened in the off-season and had already placed inventory before the bad [economic] news,” said Queipo, who is projecting first-year sales of about $650,000.
Lingerie, which accounts for a quarter of inventory, includes bralettes in microfiber, silk or stretch lace averaging $70, low-rise thongs in similar fabrics for $36 to $45, and white cotton voile pajamas trimmed with eyelet lace at $80 to $150.
Cosabella took over the lease of lingerie and swimwear boutique Sweet Anezka. Guido Campello, Cosabella’s vice president of branding and innovation, said a presence in Miami Beach was always the goal of the company, which closed its only freestanding store in South Miami.
“Since we’re getting mainly Italians and French, merchandise reflects European lingerie retail, so there’s also 30 percent swimwear and some apparel, which doesn’t hit our wholesale accounts until summer 2009,” said Campello.
Bestsellers are seamless, stretch lace thongs and HotPants in 10 colors for $20 to $30, a matching soft bra that many customers are buying as outerwear for $45, and the Marlene bra in microfiber with lace embroidery for $80. The store also carries Cosabella’s two licensed collections: HBO’s “Sex and the City”-inspired lingerie for $16 to $100, and Carmen Marc Valvo by Cosabella, a luxury line retailing from $55 to $450.
Campello plans to expand retail units in the U.S., and eventually in Asia and the Caribbean.
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