NEW YORK — Gucci signed a lease on Tuesday for what will be its biggest store in the world, a 45,000-square-foot, three-level emporium at 725 Fifth Avenue in Trump Tower here.
The unit, which is expected to open in 2008, will occupy a former Avon Centre Salon Spa and Store and a vacant Asprey flagship. Those stores closed in June and July, respectively.
Gucci’s megastore will replace an existing unit on Fifth Avenue at 54th Street. The Gucci Group has not decided whether it will install another of its brands in the 33,000-square-foot space. Boucheron, for example, has only one store in the U.S., in San Francisco, and was at one time set to open a unit on Fifth Avenue.
Gucci will be making a major statement with an imposing four-story facade, one of the most expansive storefronts of any monobrand retailer in Manhattan. The frontage will take up 75 percent of the block, said Donald Trump, the building’s owner.
The new flagship will feature Gucci’s entire collection of products, including ready-to-wear and accessories, and will offer VIP services. An expanded jewelry boutique will be in a 2,500-square-foot space on the first and second floors. It will have its own entrance on Fifth Avenue and be accessible from the main store. News of Gucci’s interest in the space was first reported in The New York Post on Wednesday.
Mark Lee, chief executive officer of Gucci, said, “Gucci has had a retail presence in New York City since 1953. This exceptional new store location will provide us with an outstanding opportunity to relocate our Fifth Avenue business.”
It is not clear why Gucci chose to relocate. The brand’s 54th Street store underwent a major renovation that was completed in 2000. Former creative director Tom Ford conceived of a spare aesthetic with limestone, polished stainless steel, bronze and Lucite. Gucci relocated to a temporary location on West 57th Street for the duration of the two-year project.
Asprey couldn’t make money in the location and retail experts concluded that the store was too big for a brand that was relatively unknown in the U.S. Gucci is said to be paying annual rent of $15 million to $20 million. Trump declined comment.
This story first appeared in the December 21, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.