By  on August 1, 2007

NEW YORK — Facing a more competitive specialty store environment, Intermix said Tuesday that Goode Partners LLC, a New York private equity firm, has made a minority investment in the company.

"Aligning with Goode Partners gives us unlimited access to their knowledge and experience in the retail industry," said Khajak Keledjian, founder and chief executive officer of 14-year-old Intermix. "Goode Partners shares our global vision, understands our culture, and has a successful track record of working with entrepreneurial companies like Intermix."

Goode has investments in the retail, restaurant, apparel, direct marketing and consumer product sectors. The investments include stakes in Rachel Ashwell Designs Inc., which operates Shabby Chic home decor stores and the Simply Shabby Chic line for Target; Chuy's Comida Deluxe Inc. restaurant chain, and Luxury Optical Holdings Co. Although details of the Intermix investment were not disclosed, the private equity company specializes in transactions requiring $10 million to $30 million of equity capital "with an opportunistic approach to larger situations."

Intermix operates units in Manhattan on Madison Avenue, Prince Street, Bleecker Street, Columbus Avenue and in the Flatiron District; two stores in Chicago, and single units in Southampton, N.Y., Boston, Miami, Bal Harbour and Boca Raton, Fla., Atlanta, Washington, Las Vegas, Dallas, Austin, Tex., and the Americana Manhasset in Manhasset, N.Y. Intermix stores average sales of $2,000 a square foot, Keledjian said when the Prince Street unit opened last year.

The specialty chain and its competitors Scoop and Calypso are flocking to the same top malls and upscale shopping thoroughfares. Scoop, with four stores in Manhattan and units in Chicago, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Dallas and Greenvale, N.Y., is on an expansion tear. Scoop opened in Mykonos, Greece, this summer and will unveil a London unit next year. Calypso, with 11 Manhattan stores, has six locations on Long Island and units in Boston, Chicago, California, Bal Harbour, Palm Beach and Naples, Fla., and in Dallas and Austin. The retailer has three stores in Paris and a unit in St. Barth's.

Barney's Co-Op also has expansion plans and Neiman Marcus' Cusp is another entry that could further crowd things if the company decides to roll it out after its test period. There are three Cusps with another set to open.While the assortments of the specialty chains often overlap, each store is merchandised differently and has a distinct point of view. Intermix's take on fashion is feminine and luxurious, with designers such as Stella McCartney, Matthew Williamson, Diane von Furstenberg and Milly. There is footwear and handbags by Chloé, Valentino and Sergio Rossi, and jewelry by Kenneth Jay Lane. Intermix merchandises based on look and lifestyle, rather than by brand or category.

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