By  on May 7, 2007

In Las Vegas, the desert oasis built on games of chance, shopping is a sure bet.

With almost 40 million tourists annually who are primed to spend, the city is one of the most enticing retail markets in the world. Where else could there be multiple stores with the same nameplate within shouting distance of one another? Chanel has three locations along the four-and-a-half mile Strip, including units at the Shops at Via Bellagio, the Wynn Hotel and in Neiman Marcus. Coach, which has stores at the Fashion Show Mall, Forum Shops at Caesars Palace and Forum Shops II, is said to ring up $60 million in annual sales in the city. Jimmy Choo's boutique at the Shops at the Palazzo is cited by retail experts as an example of high sales productivity; the store is believed to do $3.9 million in annual sales in only 1,300 square feet.

With numbers that compelling, it's no wonder brands are eager to embrace Las Vegas.

And there are more major projects in the pipeline. Las Vegas has 7.2 million square feet of retail space under construction and another 10.5 million planned in the next 12 months, according to Nevada Land, a commercial real estate firm. The question is whether even Las Vegas can support all the stores.

"All these malls are trying to be somewhat unique," said Jeffrey Paisner, executive managing director. "There's tremendous competition for tenants between Taubman, Simon and General Growth," the major mall developers.

The mother of all projects is the $7.4 billion, 66-acre CityCenter, an 18 million-square-foot development consisting of two boutique hotels, a condominium hotel, a resort casino and a shopping, entertainment and dining district. CityCenter, which is part of the MGM Mirage group, will be connected to all MGM hotels — Mandalay Bay, Monte Carlo and Bellagio — by monorail. Taubman Centers completed a 25-year agreement to provide leasing, development and design-advisory services for the 470,000-square-foot retail space.

Robert Taubman, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said he envisions two- and three-level mini anchors. His wish list includes Chanel, Prada and Louis Vuitton, brands that already have second and third stores in Las Vegas. "This will be their main store," Taubman said. "It will be comparable in size to their flagships on the Ginza or on 57th Street. They can do the same volume here. The average sales opportunity will be higher."

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