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Bebe to Open Accessories Chain

Seeking to capitalize on retail concepts devoted to single-product categories, Bebe said Friday that it would launch an accessories store chain called Neda by Bebe.

NEW YORK — Seeking to capitalize on retail concepts devoted to single-product categories, Bebe said Friday that it would launch an accessories store chain called Neda by Bebe.

The stores will be devoted to accessories, handbags and shoes with a Bebe point of view—in other words, sexy.

Bebe Stores Inc., based in Brisbane, Calif., has been on something of a roll. Demand for sweaters, denim and accessories pushed up first-quarter profits by 18.9 percent and drove a 22.3 percent rise in the quarter’s revenues. Same-store sales increased 17.3 percent.

“This decision is consistent with Bebe’s long-term objectives, and we believe the development of new concepts is integral to store growth,” Greg Scott, chief executive officer, said in a statement. “With the launch of Neda by Bebe, the company continues to build customer loyalty to the Bebe brand and the sophisticated lifestyle it represents.”

The company said the stores’ name was inspired by vice chairman Neda Mashouf. “She has been our muse for over 20 years,” Scott said. “Her eclectic, sexy and sophisticated style clearly represents the Bebe design aesthetic.”

Bebe operates one accessories concept unit adjacent to its store at the Lenox Square Mall in the affluent Buckhead section of Atlanta.

The company is set to open a flagship with an expanded shoe and handbag area this month on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. The company plans to open its first freestanding Neda by Bebe location in the spring. Bebe will assess its performance before rolling out the concept in 2007.

Single-category store concepts aren’t always successful. Gap opened several Gap Body stores, but never progressed to a serious rollout, and Neiman Marcus discontinued its smaller Galleries stores for jewelry and gifts. Still, the idea remains popular.

Abercrombie & Fitch’s Ruehl last week opened a store here devoted to accessories.

Scott said the company plans to open 35 stores in fiscal 2006, including 20 Bebe and 12 Bebe Sport stores.

The company has also announced plans to launch a branded performance line called Bebe SB in its Bebe Sport units.

Bebe operates 224 stores, made up of 170 Bebe stores, 35 Bebe Sport stores and 19 Bebe outlet locations.

This story first appeared in the November 7, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.