BOSTON — Specialty retailer Louis Boston will leave its iconic Newbury Street store here when the lease expires in spring 2010, a blow to the city’s best-known shopping street.
This story first appeared in the June 2, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Owner Debi Greenberg said the redevelopment of a neighboring office building into retail space for Filene’s Basement, Hennes & Mauritz and Victoria’s Secret sealed her decision amid growing concern that the street was becoming homogenized.
“Those are viable businesses, but it doesn’t make the destination seem very special,” she said.
Chanel, Valentino and other luxury retailers are within blocks of Louis Boston, but Filene’s Basement sells high-end merchandise at steep discounts. Greenberg frequently sold past-season markdowns at the Filene’s Basement Downtown Crossing flagship, which is closed for renovations.
The move opens a new era for Louis Boston, known for an innovative buy of artsy labels — Marni, Dries Van Noten — and, since 1988, for its palatial presence at the top of Newbury Street in the city’s former Natural History Museum.
Greenberg said she is considering moving to the Seaport District, site of huge developments on the South Boston waterfront, and the South End, a neighborhood of traditional red-brick town houses that’s had a growing number of boutiques and a hot restaurant scene.
She said she will stay within the city limits and not in a mall, which would rule out Copley Place, Boston’s other major luxury retail destination.
No deals have been signed and Greenberg declined to discuss specific options. However, given that she wants a large space — 40,000 square feet, about the size of the current selling floor — it would be difficult to find roomy enough digs in the South End.
Fan Pier in the Seaport District, planned as a luxury development with yacht moorings, has been rumored to be on Greenberg’s list. It is to be built in phases between 2009 and 2012.
She plans to keep the same “destination” mix of product categories — men’s, women’s, shoes, jewelry, home decor — and core services such as a salon-spa and restaurant.