By  on November 12, 2007

NEW YORK — Michael Kors is back in SoHo with a lifestyle concept boutique.

The designer quietly opened a store at 101 Prince Street in Manhattan on Friday in a space formerly occupied by cult eatery Jerry's, and by afternoon, it was already buzzing with shoppers, some of whom walked out with their hands full of Kors' shopping bags. "I just realized I live only four blocks away," Kors said. "It will now be my neighborhood looting store."

The lifestyle retail concept, which focuses heavily on accessories with some ready-to-wear alongside fragrances and other licensed categories such as sunglasses, launched in Dallas last year and has expanded to markets such as White Plains, N.Y., Los Angeles, Atlantic City and Boca Raton, Fla. The next three will open in Greenwich, Conn., Scottsdale, Ariz., and Troy, Mich.

SoHo marks Kors' 15th freestanding lifestyle concept store in North America, and like the preceding ones, the boutique cross-merchandises the designer-level Michael Kors, bridge Kors Michael Kors footwear and outerwear and the better Michael Michael Kors apparel line. The 3,400-square-foot SoHo unit was designed by New York-based Michael Neumann Architecture LLC, and has an all-white interior, with polished white marble floors and details such as zebra-fabric-covered furniture.

This being New York, the product is wider than in the other stores, ranging from flip-flops to chinchilla vests. Pointing to a $98 pair of Michael Wellington boots displayed near $695 python Collection sandals with a gold heel, Kors exclaimed, "This sums it up. Some girls will buy both, and some may not."

Kors said SoHo was a particularly suitable locale for this kind of retail environment. "When you talk about the concept of extreme mix, SoHo has a broader mix than any other location we have opened in so far," Kors said. "You're going to have everyone from the Japanese teenager to the rock star.

"And talk about street theater," he added. "You get people from Senegal selling little hats in the winter and stoop singers."

Some may feel a sense of nostalgia about the loss of old SoHo with the shutdown of Jerry's, and Kors is the first to admit he is among them. "We were looking for a space in SoHo for such a long time, and when we got the phone call about this space, the first thing I said was, 'Is that near Jerry's?'" he said. "I didn't want it to be like the 'You've Got Mail' scenario, with Tom Hanks kicking out Meg Ryan from her neighborhood store."This isn't Kors' first foray into SoHo. In 2001, he opened a store for his bridge Kors line on Mercer Street, but it was closed down in 2004 after the bridge apparel line was shuttered.

Top items at the new boutique include a slouchy metallic Michael hobo bag for $328; a suede Kors flat for $195; a gold Collection chrono watch for $225, and a Collection ID hobo bag for $1,295. The store is estimated to rake in more than $3 million in its first year.

John Idol, chief executive officer of Michael Kors (USA) Inc., said the company is on track to have 100 such lifestyle stores over the next two years. About 25 of these are expected to be at street level, with the others likely to be located in malls.

"The lifestyle stores we opened to date have been extremely successful, producing on average $1,000 a square foot," Idol noted. "We are very pleased with their results, and New York, being the city that Michael launched his brand in, is very important for us. SoHo is an incredible opportunity for the company, and we think Prince Street is one of the best places in Manhattan."

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