By  on August 10, 2007

Fortunoff is moving off Fifth Avenue and relocating to 3 West 57th Street, right next to Bergdorf Goodman, WWD has learned.

The move is a big step for the 85-year-old Fortunoff to modernize its image, elevate productivity and set the look and tone for an expansion that seems overdue. Fortunoff's reputation is much larger than its footprint, which is limited to the Tristate area.

"This will be our vision of what jewelry stores should be like," said Arnie Orlick, the retailer's chief executive officer. "Our new store will be filled with visual grandeur and will be much more contemporary than the very traditional environments we have lived with."

Fortunoff on 57th Street is scheduled to open in the first week of November and will encompass three levels and 12,600 square feet. Fine jewelry and watches will be on the first floor; a Baby Fortunoff boutique, silver jewelry, men's jewelry and interactive wedding and gift registries for tabletop and home furnishings will be on the second, and downstairs, there will be ''a diamond world'' for diamond engagement rings, wedding bands and other expensive jewelry, with rooms for private viewings.

The store is being designed by Barteluce Architects & Assoc., which has created environments for such luxury retailers as Gucci, Cartier and Fendi. Recycled woods accented with recycled aluminum, warm earth tones and metallics, and low-energy LED lighting will be used to create an environmentally friendly space. "Using the sparkle and facets of a gemstone as the genesis of the design concept, we created a merchandising panorama that evokes the thrill and mystery of the mining experience," Dan Barteluce, founder and principal of the firm bearing his name, said in a statement. "Brightly lit jewelry showcases form dense, horizontal light bands juxtaposed against an organic background interspersed with blades of glass which refract light."

The site previously served as temporary quarters for Chanel, Coach and Bulgari stores and, earlier, a Phillips auction gallery.

Fortunoff's current four-level, 15,000-square-foot Manhattan site, at 681 Fifth Avenue by 54th Street, opened in 1979. From early November 2007 through January 2008, Fortunoff will simultaneously operate two Manhattan locations, though management feels the two Fortunoffs within four blocks won't cannibalize sales from each other. "It's the time of the year where there's enough volume to have a spectacular Christmas in both stores," Orlick said. "In no way, shape or form will we take merchandise out of Fifth Avenue. We will run it as if the other store doesn't exist."

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