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NEW YORK — Despite continuing economic woes, there’s a new crop of accessories and jewelry stores hitting the retail scene this fall.
Fine jewelry firms Anthony Nak and Temple St. Clair, costume jeweler Blair Delmonico and handbag maker Longchamp are among those opening new shops in coming months. These units reflect a continuing trend in the industry of small designers and firms opening their own stores, often as ways to build their brand names and generate higher margins than they do as wholesale accounts.
Following the fast growth of its business in the last year, Anthony Nak plans to open its first boutique in October. Earlier this year, the Austin, Tex.-based company moved its corporate headquarters and production facility to 800 Brazos Street, which also will house the new 1,000-square-foot retail space.
“We wanted to open a store because we want to be able to showcase the entire collection and showcase it the way we see it,” said Anthony Camargo, who founded the line with his partner, David Nakard Armstrong, in 1998. “We decided to open the store in Austin because that is our home town and we have such a large following there.”
The store will be designed by Austin-based architect M.J. Neal and will feature modular display cases, resin-tattooed fixtures and pickled-wood flooring.
“We’ll also have a full wall dedicated to projected images,” Camargo said. “This will be an ideal canvas for our evolving product lines and the images will reflect that.”
First-year sales projections are at least $1.5 million, said Camargo.
Anthony Nak’s draped, 18-karat yellow gold and gemstone jewelry has found a following with the likes of Jennifer Lopez, who wore the duo’s necklace in her recent “Dateline” interview, Liv Tyler, Sandra Bullock, Reese Witherspoon and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Blair Delmonico’s new store is slated to open Aug. 22 at Northbrook Court mall in Chicago, which includes anchors such as Lord & Taylor and Neiman Marcus. This is the third store for the costume jewelry firm, which also has units in Dallas and Tyson’s Corner, Va.
“Opening stores is a very big part of our future,” said David Salvatore, president and creative director. “I think it’s hard for people to understand our brand at department stores because they can only see a small portion of what we do. It’s also a way for us to obtain higher margins.”
The 700-square-foot location will include jewelry, watches and eyewear, as well as small leather goods, blouses and sweaters. Prices for the jewelry range from $25 for a stud earring to $700 for a necklace with semiprecious stones. Blair Delmonico is known for its crystal jewelry in bright colors, much of it made with Swarovski crystals.
“The store design is modern and clean with wall cabinets, and for the cases we are using a fiber optic lighting that doesn’t create any heat,” said Salvatore, who projected first-year sales for the store to be about $800,000.
He noted the company also is planning to open about five more stores next year, as well as additional in-store shops, including one at the revamped Marshall Field’s in Chicago, scheduled to open next month.
Longchamp’s new store is scheduled to open in September at 100 Grant Avenue in San Francisco. The 1,100-square-foot location will carry the full range of the company’s offerings, such as leather handbags and nylon totes, including its foldable nylon “pliage” bag.
Longchamp, which has annual sales of about $157 million, operates four stores in the U.S., in New York, Boston and Palm Beach and Coral Gables, Fla., and 66 additional stores in other countries. In a recent interview, Jean Cassegrain, managing director of the family-owned firm, said growth in the U.S. is a priority for the company, which also has wholesale distribution at Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Tiffany & Co.-backed Temple St. Clair will open a second retail unit at the Mall at Short Hills in Short Hills, N.J. Similar to designer Temple St. Clair’s first unit, which is slated to open at the South Coast Plaza mall in Costa Mesa, Calif., this September, the 1,475-square-foot Short Hills boutique will be designed by interior designer Randall Ridless and architect Dan Barteluce, with custom-made bronze doors that draw from the jewelry’s details, hardwood floors and handmade Tibetan rugs.
Temple St. Clair’s jewelry has a classic, almost Byzantine feel and is typically made with precious and semiprecious stones such as blue moonstones, tourmaline, aquamarine, peridot and diamonds, and set in 18-karat yellow gold and platinum. The bulk of the line retails from $700 for classic cabochon earrings in semiprecious stones to $15,000 for Ceylon sapphire bangles and cuff bracelets in blue moonstones and iolite.
Sales projections were not available for the new unit, which is scheduled to open Nov. 14. Tiffany took a stake in Temple St. Clair earlier this year as a way to diversify its retail operations.