By  on August 29, 2007

Ron Herman is betting on Las Vegas for his first retail location outside Southern California.

The Los Angeles-based retailer, who operates five namesake specialty boutiques in greater Los Angeles, launched a 3,000-square-foot store this month at The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Herman said he chose Vegas over other markets because of its proximity to Los Angeles. "Las Vegas is my backyard playground," he said. "Also, I think the character of Vegas continues to change. I don't see it as growing into a cosmopolitan city....I see it growing into a resort town. It's a place for a quick getaway from L.A."

Catering to tourists is a key part of any retailer's strategy in Las Vegas, but Herman said building a local following — which includes offering more casual looks at lower contemporary prices — is also a priority. "I genuinely do see my customer in Vegas," he said, "and my [staff] is excited to build that local clientele."

Herman characterized The Forum Shops as "one of the greatest tourist shopping destinations that I've witnessed anywhere. It's a landmark, not a regional mall."

The retailer operates freestanding boutiques in Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Brentwood, Malibu and at South Coast Plaza mall in Costa Mesa.

The Las Vegas store will carry women's merchandise only, from brands including Stella McCartney, Acne Jeans, Jovovich-Hawk, Anya Hindmarch, Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent, True Religion, Ksubi and in-house labels Free City and Jet.

Though price points for most jeans start in the high $100s, Herman said, "We are presenting the [merchandise] in an elegant way, at an accessible price point for the most part, so people can buy in a spontaneous way."

Herman said he expects store sales to reach between $4.5 million and $5 million in the next year.

Personal shopping services, which Herman calls "Red Phone" in his California boutiques, are also available at the Las Vegas unit. "In 'Batman,' the chief of police had a red phone on his desk with one button," Herman said. "So I always thought of a phone with one button that connects to Ron Herman....We'll deliver bags and work with people in their homes."The boutique's decor is in line with existing Ron Herman stores. "If someone walked in, they might say, this looks like a Ron Herman store," said the retailer. "The difference is, I've stepped it up a bit."

Walnut wood floors are juxtaposed with stainless steel, lacquered wood and white terrazzo accents.

The interiors may be quintessentially Ron Herman, but the front windows are among the most eye-catching the retailer has ever created. "You do need to pay very close attention to the windows because we're not the main draw of the center," Herman said. "Millions of people will walk by our windows....In L.A., you're driving by at 40 miles an hour. What your window looks like means very little. In Las Vegas, in order to get someone to fall into our store, you have to have windows that make it look like it would be fun to shop inside."

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