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Van Cleef & Arpels is trying to get lucky.
The French jewelry firm, owned by Compagnie Financière Richemont, is opening two new stores in casino locales: Macau’s Wynn Hotel and in The Palazzo in Las Vegas.
“Jewelry was invented by mankind to bring luck and we’ll sell what brings luck,” said Stanislas de Quercize, Van Cleef’s worldwide chief executive officer and president.
“The meaning of these new openings is the universal message of Van Cleef & Arpels,” he added. “This message is to go for the best. The world is bigger than Paris and Place Vendôme, where we opened our first shop across the street from the Ritz in 1906 because people all around the world came there. Now the world is much bigger. People travel more.”
The 1,400-square-foot Macau store contains a bridal bar for engagement and wedding rings and two VIP lounges. Wynn Macau opened in September 2006 and has 110,000 square feet of casino gaming space. Van Cleef has 19 stores in Asia, including units in China, Malaysia and Taiwan.
The 1,350-square-foot Las Vegas store will also have VIP lounges and an array of product from all the brand’s categories. The stores, designed by British designer Anouska Hempel, have a luxe residential feel with gray armchairs and a gray floor with black lacquer finish.
De Quercize said Van Cleef has had success across all its line, including the Alhambra collection that uses gold, diamond and colored stones in clover, heart and butterfly motifs. The brand’s high jewelry segment has also been doing well, with new collections continually being launched — two high jewelry collections are being introduced in Geneva in April — and the brand’s watch business is growing steadily, he said. There will be a mix of day, night and bridal jewelry at the new stores, ranging from $900 up to the millions of dollars.
Last month, Richemont, which also owns such brands as Cartier, IWC, Dunhill and Chloé, reported an 8 percent increase in third-quarter sales to 1.67 billion euros, or $2.42 billion, broadly in line with analysts’ forecasts. Japanese sales fell 6 percent and the U.S. market slowed in December.
This story first appeared in the February 11, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Van Cleef has 60 other boutiques in cities such as New York, Hawaii and Hong Kong.
De Quercize said the firm is not feeling the pinch of the spiraling economy in the U.S. and Europe.
“We’ve seen other crises and wars, and in those times people are looking for the best quality, the high end,” he said. “They’re focused on legitimacy. We have a style that’s recognizable from around the world, stones with character and unsurpassed craftsmanship.”