NEW YORK — Intermix's latest arrival is off to a strong start.
The retailer's new 4,000-square-foot flagship is situated on a prime SoHo block, between Mercer and Greene Streets, opposite the Mercer Hotel, Miu Miu, J. Crew and an Apple computer store. On Saturday, the store's soft opening, consumers bought the unit's entire supply of $1,380 Chloé Paddington bags and $495 Iisli sequin jackets. Many LaRok fitted velvet jackets were sold at $295 and lots of Vince sweaters were purchased at $285, said Khajak Keledjian, chief executive officer, who owns Intermix with his brother, Haro.
"We had very high unit per transactions," Keledjian said. "That means people are buying into the look. They're buying outfits."
Outfits is the operative word at Intermix. What makes the chain different from other specialty stores is that it merchandises clothes by complete look rather than by item, category or designer. The store is divided into three zones — day, night and weekend. Consumers often buy the outfits in toto.
"Department stores can't do this because their departments are spread out over different floors," Kaladjian said. "This is more of a stylist's approach."
The mannequins in the store's windows bear the Intermix imprimatur: eclectic, feminine and luxurious. One wears a Stella McCartney checked cape, a Matthew Williamson burgundy turtleneck, So Taverniti jeans and a navy Paddington handbag. Another is dressed in a Nieves Lavi baby-doll dress, an Adrienne Landau cropped fur vest, a Corto Moltedo plum bag and a Gerard Yosca beaded necklace.
The Keledjians are careful students of Manhattan real estate. Intermix was one of the first specialty stores to open in the Flatiron district before it became a fashionable shopping area. Since then, the retailer has cultivated a loyal clientele in the West Village, Upper East Side and Upper West Side.
Keledjian said rent on the Prince Street space is about $225 a square foot. Intermix stores here average sales of $2,000 a square foot, and he anticipates the new flagship will ring up $1,500 a square foot.
According to sources, Intermix plans to have sales of $45 million to $50 million in 2005. The company grew at a rate of 77 percent in the first six months, when comp-store growth was up 30 percent.In addition to five stores here, Intermix operates two in Miami and one each in Southampton, N.Y., Boston and Washington. There are three units in Japan. The company plans to open four stores next year, possibly in Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington. A new unit will bow at Phipps Plaza in Atlanta in October.
Keledjian said Intermix's original store at 125 Fifth Avenue will be renovated and expanded in January when the retailer takes over the second floor.
"We rebranded the business 18 months ago," said Keledjian, "from the logo to the marketing. We've been buying narrower and deeper and giving a wider assortment. There are no rules to the game. It's look-driven. Any price goes, from a $48 T-shirt to a Stella McCartney coat for $1,800."
Keledjian is using vendor exclusives to give the store an edge. Kenneth Jay Lane created a gold necklace with the Intermix logo, Sonia Rykiel designed sequin sweaters, Salt's Bleecker Street jeans are unique to the store and Iisli made sweaters in Intermix colors.
"We push them to the next level to make their products more adaptable to this customer," Keledjian said.
The ceo pushed the architects, L.E.F.T., to create something beyond a rigid white box. L.E.F.T. used ideas from the craft of dressmaking for interior design details and the store's the structure. For example, the ceiling, which rises and falls in different places is meant to look wrinkled and folded. Dressing room curtains are decorated with zippers and grommets and a fake-leather-covered bench that turns into a cash wrap is stitched with pink thread.
"We took elements of fashion and used them in a creative way," said Ziad Jamaleddine, a partner in L.E.F.T. "The metal fixtures even have tattoos that consumers can discover."
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