By and  on January 2, 2002

NEW YORK -- The city's lagging economy isn't stopping accessories makers from stampeding into town. From the trendy streets of SoHo to the upper echelons of Madison Avenue, Manhattan is bursting with new shops from accessories vendors and jewelers. Many of the firms, such as Movado and Montblanc, are well known for one category, but are showcasing their other product offerings in new retail environments.

Here, a roundup of some of the newest players on the scene:

MOVADO'S MOVE

Movado has joined the fashion flock in SoHo.

While best known for its watches, Movado recently opened a 2,000-square-foot store on the corner of Wooster and Spring Streets showcasing its full range of products, including jewelry, crystal and tabletop, eyewear and home accessories.

The unit is part of Movado's efforts of late to diversify into the retail arena and build its name as a lifestyle brand. The publicly held firm opened its first store in 1998 and has slowly opened new locations around the New York metropolitan area and in Florida. The SoHo unit is its 10th location and its second unit in Manhattan, joining its Rockefeller Center shop.

"Consumers know us as a watch company and we wanted to convey the idea that we have other products and that we are a lifestyle brand," said Ray Stuart, president of boutiques.

Jewelry is the first product consumers encounter when entering the store. With prices ranging from $45 to $4,000, the jewelry collection includes a wide array of offerings, from sterling silver to 18-karat gold. Diamonds were introduced for the first time this holiday season.

In matching the hip aesthetic of many of its neighbors, Movado's SoHo store is painted in white and has a clean feel, without a lot of clutter. A few touches of the existing architecture were left in place, such as a brick wall in the back of the store, a brick ceiling, and a large open area downstairs designed for in-store events.

NIKKI'S NEW HAUNT

For accessories company Nikki B., opening a store in TriBeCa, just a few blocks away from Ground Zero, was an especially heartening project after the Sept. 11 attacks.

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