By  on May 23, 2005

NEW YORK — Oscar de la Renta, aiming to build its U.S. retail presence before venturing abroad, will unveil a boutique at the Americana in Manhasset, N.Y., in July. The 2,100-square-foot unit will boost the company's store count to four.

Since opening its Madison Avenue store last year, Oscar de La Renta has sought out leases in high-profile, high-traffic luxury shopping areas. The Americana fits the bill with its Peter Marino-design and long list of upscale retailers.

"Our ultimate goal with freestanding stores is to expand into Europe and other parts of the world," said Alex Bolen, president and chief executive officer of Oscar de la Renta.

Executives are scouting locations for a store in Southern California, and Hawaii would be another logical location, Bolen said. While there is no set time frame for international expansion, Madrid and Moscow are being considered.

"We still feel we are very new to this game,'' Bolen said. "We are pleased with the start we are off to, but we want to make sure we have a high degree of confidence in our ability to open stores before we go to countries where English is not the primary language."

Meyer Davis, the architecture firm behind de la Renta's Bal Harbour, Fla., boutique, also is doing the honors on Long Island. The space will have clean lines, coral stone and plaster palm trees consistent with the elements of other Oscar de la Renta stores, and a glass and bronze facade that accents Marino's modern touch for the center.

In another sign of the company's commitment to its retail strategy, Susan Mathieu has been promoted to director of U.S. retail operations, overseeing the freestanding stores. She joined Oscar de la Renta last year as the store manager for the New York unit. She continues to handle those responsibilities as well as the new ones.

"Her success on Madison gives us the confidence to continue opening stores in select U.S. markets and eventually overseas," Bolen said.

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