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Dior in Istanbul Hits Ground Running

It seems "J'adore Dior" doesn't need any translation into Turkish.

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ISTANBUL — It seems “J’adore Dior” doesn’t need any translation into Turkish.

This story first appeared in the May 7, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The Christian Dior boutique at the Istinye Park shopping complex, which opened in September, has become the best performing of the 11 monobrand stores operated in the mall by the luxury retailer Beymen, Dior’s venture partner.

The blossoming relationship was feted here last week with thousands of white flowers, a display of John Galliano’s couture confections and a dinner at the residence of the French ambassador attended by the city’s top social and business figures.

The 2,500-square-foot Istinye Park boutique is already achieving sales productivity “at the standard of Europe. We have been doing extremely well,” said a beaming Sidney Toledano, Dior’s president and chief executive officer. He said he’s already started scouting for a second location in Istanbul, likely to open in 2009.

He cited strong sales of ready-to-wear, leather goods and footwear, while allowing that Dior fine jewelry, new on the market, is “something we need to promote.”

Luxury retailing is “booming” in Istanbul, said Esel Cekin, Beymen’s general manger, citing growth rates of more than 50 percent in recent years. She said more than 100,000 customers visited its luxury stores in the last 12 months. Istanbul also increasingly attracts tourist dollars, with most shoppers coming from Russia and the Middle East, but 80 percent of the customer base remains local, she added.

Cekin credited Dior’s strong brand recognition, and its couture image, for strong sales at Istinye Park, where valets are kept busy parking a steady stream of Maseratis, Audis and Mercedes. She reiterated that all categories of European luxury fashions sell, with the exception of non-leather bags.

Toledano, who cohosted the dinner with Beymen owner Cem Boyner, said Dior has long received many Turkish clients at its Paris flagship and the founding designer has drawn inspiration from a lively, exotic city. He even recounted a personal link to Turkey; his mother was born in Gallipoli.

Last year, Beymen opened 28 freestanding stores in Turkey for European brands, including Celine, Jimmy Choo, Etro, Chloé, Paul Smith, Dolce & Gabbana and Bottega Veneta.

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