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Chanel Opens Stores

NEW YORK -- Coco may have had a penchant for pearls, but it's handbags and shoes that now fuel Chanel's retail momentum.<P>Accessories took center stage at two recently opened Chanel boutiques: on Madison Avenue here and at Pacific Place, the...

NEW YORK — Coco may have had a penchant for pearls, but it’s handbags and shoes that now fuel Chanel’s retail momentum.

Accessories took center stage at two recently opened Chanel boutiques: on Madison Avenue here and at Pacific Place, the upscale mall in Hong Kong.

The luxury firm opened a 1,500-square-foot shoe and handbag boutique at 737 Madison Avenue on Wednesday, adjacent to its recently opened fine jewelry shop.

“Madison Avenue is the ideal location to tap into impulse purchases by local residents and tourists,” said Barbara Cirkva, executive vice president of fashion at Chanel Inc., the U.S. arm of the Paris fashion house.

The unit, designed by architect Peter Marino in the new Chanel boutique format, offers shoes, handbags, travel pieces and small leather goods. Key items on display include a beige satin sandal with gold birdcage heels at $570, a pink leather hobo handbag with a brushed gold oversized link at $875 and a matching low pink leather boot at $805.

“Our global shoe business has grown four times over in the past two years,” said Cirkva. “The time was right for the idea of pairing shoes and handbags into a unique retail concept.”

This is the second accessories-only store in the U.S. The company launched the concept last year with a boutique at The Short Hills Mall in Short Hills, N.J., and it plans to open its third U.S. unit of this kind in October at The Mall at Millenia in Orlando.

“We believe that there are six to seven cities, which offer the opportunity in the U.S. for success for this new and innovative concept,” said Cirkva.

In Hong Kong, the 2,380-square-foot boutique is Chanel’s sixth freestanding store in the region. This unit is also based on the Peter Marino blueprint and features beige marble floors and carpeting, black shelving and mounted video screens.

A central island is dedicated to footwear, some of which will only be available in Hong Kong at this store. The accessories offering, which accounts for 90 percent of the total assortment, includes handbags, travel accessories, costume jewelry and scarves, with select ready-to-wear making up the balance.

Affordability is a key focus in the assortment, with prices ranging from about $90 for a brooch to $3,470 for a men’s chronograph watch. Prices have been converted from Hong Kong dollars at the current exchange rate.

The boutique, which has a prime location on the third level of Pacific Place, has such neighbors as Tiffany & Co., Joyce Boutique and Celine. Chanel hopes to attract a diverse clientele because Pacific Place is a multipurpose complex with five-star hotels, office towers and residences.”