The London-based vertical retailer of high-end women’s and girls apparel, sometimes compared with Banana Republic, has signed leases to open two boutiques in the Brentwood Country Mart, a high-end, intimate center in Los Angeles with about 45 shops and 30,000 square feet for retail.
One of the stores will be a 1,500-square-foot unit for the Jigsaw women’s collection. The other unit will be a 500-square-foot Jigsaw Jr. boutique for girls. Both are seen opening in the summer or early fall, and are practically adjacent, separated by a hallway.
James S. Rosenfeld, owner of the Brentwood Country Mart, disclosed the news about Jigsaw exclusively to WWD on Thursday. Rosenfeld wears a second hat as national director of retail services for the U.S. operations of Cushman & Wakefield. Richard Green, president of the Westfield Corp., also owns part of Brentwood Country Mart.
Rosenfeld projected that Jigsaw could post $2 million in annual sales with both stores combined.
Usually, retailers from overseas pick high-profile locations to mark their entry into the U.S. For example, Hennes & Mauritz launched its U.S. chain with a rousing opening on Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street in Manhattan. But Rosenfeld explained, “Jigsaw always elects to go to the neighborhoods where their customer lives, rather than the high-profile streets. I expect they’ll grow regionally in Los Angeles first, and then go to other urban areas in the U.S.”
According to Edward Atterton, president of Jigsaw in the U.S., “Jigsaw has historically always grown very organically and very slowly and will do things in a very measured way. We came to Los Angeles really to feel out the U.S.” His sister, Belle Atterton, runs Jigsaw Jr.
The Brentwood Country Mart, which features high-end specialty shops and food purveyors, is undergoing a renovation and some remerchandising, including new lighting and valet parking with an expanded parking lot. The center is two-thirds leased, and stores average $750 to $1,000 in sales per square foot, Rosenfeld said.
With its upscale and Early American, New England appeal, the Brentwood Country Mart is pulling in some quality but lesser-known retail tenants, aside from Jigsaw. Apartment Number 9, a men’s wear retailer in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood selling such brands as Jack Spade and Paul Smith, has chosen the mart for its second location, Rosenfeld noted.Jigsaw is considered one of Britain's leading bridge retailers and has about 40 stores in the U.K., and a few in other countries such as Ireland, Holland and Japan. Recently, Jigsaw launched Kew, a lower-priced line.
John Robinson started Jigsaw about 30 years ago. It prospered by opening small stores of up to 2,000 square feet in major cities and towns in Britain. Jigsaw took a major step up in March 1996 when it opened its 6,000-square-foot flagship on London’s New Bond Street. The privately owned company is vertically structured, meaning it maintains total control of design, manufacturing, distribution and stores. It doesn’t wholesale its line. Its emphasis is on casualwear.
Some U.S. developers have been aware of Jigsaw and have been trying to lure the brand into their malls. The Rouse Co., for example, has reportedly been after Jigsaw for certain of its properties, including The Village at Merrick Park in Coral Gables, Fla., and The Fashion Show mall in Las Vegas.
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