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NEW YORK — On the eve of its 10th anniversary, The Shops at Columbus Circle is doing some housekeeping.
This story first appeared in the May 16, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
With some newly vacant large space resulting from the closure of the 10,000-square-foot The Samsung Experience store and a 26,000-square-foot Borders Books, Music and Movies, the urban mall is bringing bridge and fast fashion to its upper levels. Borders and Samsung closed in October and January, respectively.
On Tuesday, H&M said it will open a 21,000-square-foot, two-level unit at the mall this fall, the first in Manhattan with a men’s shop with a dedicated entrance. H&M will occupy a portion of the former Borders space on the second floor and Samsung on the third. It joins Christopher Burch’s new format C. Wonder, which will open an 8,000-square-foot flagship at The Shops in September, taking over about one-third of the former Borders space.
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Daniel Kulle, U.S. president for H&M, said the store will be the retailer’s first on the Upper West Side and noted that the unit will sell women’s, including lingerie, underwear and accessories; men’s, and children’s clothing for newborns up to kids age eight. “H&M believes very strongly in the New York City market,” Kulle said.
With 20,000 to 30,000 square feet of space expected to come on line in the next few years, The Shops is moving toward its goal of adding more luxury brands to the tenant roster. “Going forward, the ground level will move in much more of a luxury direction,” said Kenneth Himmel, chief executive officer of Related Urban, developer of The Shops at Columbus Circle, which is part of Time Warner Center. “As you move up, you have J. Crew, H&M and Eileen Fisher. You’re getting into very good bridge and popular retail. On Fifth Avenue, you can see the enormous mix of retailing. There’s Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Fendi, Prada, Uniqlo, Abercrombie & Fitch and H&M. It’s a very democratic process today. I look at zoning our project that way. ”
L.K. Bennett, the London-based company that opened a store on The Shops’ ground floor in April, is an example of the type of retailer Related is after. A black leather dress costs $1,011; leather trousers, $700, and a leather Nicole handbag is $439. “The leading luxury players are up 40 percent in sales and doing about $2,300 per square foot,” said Webber Hudson, executive vice president of Related Urban, citing Boots, Thomas Pink, Stuart Weitzman and Tumi. Other stores do more than $1,600 a square foot. “The road map is in luxury,” Hudson said. “This tells me that I should be going to the next level. There is an opportunity to continue to deliver fashion moving into the luxury price point.
“I’m going to continue to build into women’s predominantly,” Hudson said. “We’re working on a jewelry deal as part of a larger discussion. There’s a possibility that we’ll come in with a few brands under one umbrella,” he said, suggesting an agreement with a multibrand luxury group such as PPR or LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.