PARIS — Specialty stores continue to spring up on both sides of the Atlantic, with Fresh — and Clarins — branded boutiques among the latest crop.

Fresh will open its first freestanding shop in Paris at the end of November. Located in the Saint Germain neighborhood, the 700-square-foot space will sell the full, 500-plus-unit range of the brand’s products and house a treatment area in the back.

Founders of the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned brand, Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg, are excited about the debut.

“Not only did we dream of opening a store in Paris, but we’ve looked for a location like this for a long time,” said Glazman.

The new Fresh store will be in the same vein as the brand’s five other retail outlets, in terms of its design by David Hacin and its division into product categories.

But differing from the other Fresh stores will be the shop’s treatment area, where a makeup artist and aesthetician can give complimentary facials and makeovers using Fresh products.

While company executives refused to talk numbers, industry sources estimate the new Fresh boutique could ring up 700,000 euros, or $819,120 at current exchange rates, in sales during its first 12 months.

Fresh is no stranger to France. Its products have formerly been retailed at Colette and Parfumerie Generale in Paris. Now, besides being sold in the soon-to-be-opened Fresh store, the brand is retailed in a newly inaugurated, 170-square-foot shop-in-shop in the city’s Printemps department store.

“About 50 percent of the products are made in France,” Glazman noted.

Currently, some 5 percent of Fresh’s sales are generated outside of North America. “North America will always be a big part of the business, but the [future sales] mix will likely be North America about 50 percent of the business and the rest of the world 50 percent,” said Glazman.

He said Fresh is easily exportable, and added: “When we create the brand, we think globally.

“We’re definitely thinking of expanding retail,” he added. Already, the brand is putting the finishing touches on a store in Los Angeles, for instance. And, in the future, there could be more shops in North America and Asia, plus a boutique in London.Meanwhile, New York is the new retail focus for Groupe Clarins, which is gearing up to open its first store at the end of October, as reported. Located on Madison Avenue between 80th and 81st streets, it will include a 2,000-square-foot ground floor, showcasing all of Clarins’ products, and an 890-square-foot upper floor, to house three treatment rooms.

“We want to show people the world of Clarins,” said Christian Courtin, the firm’s president and chief executive, who added such a flagship allows for the brand to be expressed in full, particularly in parts of cities where there are no department stores.

The new Clarins store design, which was created with Olivier Baussan — founder of L’Occitane, in which Clarins has a minority stake — will emphasize Clarins’ roots in natural ingredients, through plants and science, in a section with a laboratory-like environment replete with test tubes and white tiles. There is also to be a lounge area, where people can relax.

Courtin would not discuss projections for the new store on Madison Avenue, but industry sources estimate it could generate $1 million in its first year.

A second freestanding Clarins shop of about 890 square feet is due to be opened in New York SoHo neighborhood in the first quarter of 2004. It has not yet been decided whether that store is to include a treatment area.

The U.S., where Clarins is distributed through about 1,100 doors, generates 20 percent of the company’s overall business.

It’s a business that will be expanding its retail presence globally. The next Clarins store is slated for an opening in Hong Kong before yearend.

“There may be 20 [Clarins shops altogether] next year,” said Courtin, who added his company is taking a trial-and-error approach as the concept is expanded.

However, Clarins stores will never become the firm’s primary distribution channel. “We don’t want to open the stores everywhere,” said Courtin.

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