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ISTANBUL — Turkish luxury retailer Beymen is banking on attracting considerable local and international traffic to its largest flagship in the new Zorlu Center here.
This story first appeared in the January 6, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The 108,000-square-foot unit houses some 400 international brands, 73 of which are exclusive to the location. Together with luxury boutiques for Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Emilio Pucci, Stella McCartney, Tory Burch, Valentino and Saint Laurent, the flagship constitutes 20 percent of the total leasable area at the shopping center. The project cost $28 million, and is expected to generate annual revenues estimated at $100 million.
The mall has several other luxury fashion brands; local and international fashion labels for men, women and kids; technology stores, such as the first Apple store in Turkey; international jewelry brands, and home decoration stores.
Zorlu is billed as Turkey’s first and only “mixed use” project with five different functions, including a culture and arts center, Raffles Hotel, business center, shopping center and residences. Situated in the heart of Istanbul, overlooking the Bosphorus, the center aims to become a tourist landmark, drawing international customer traffic mainly from Russia, nations that made up the former Soviet Union and the Persian Gulf. Plans for advertising in the global media are in place to fan international interest.
Beymen stores generate about 20 percent of their sales from tourists.
Elif Çapçı, chief executive officer of Beymen, asserted that the flagship’s mix of merchandise, art and architecture is unique.
“There already have been inquiries about store expansion or partnership opportunities from countries such as the U.S. and China,” Çapçı said.
The women’s department boasts shops-in-shop from brands such as Balenciaga, Givenchy, Ralph Lauren and Reed Krakoff; “tunnel shops” — accessible both from within store and from the mall — for Céline, Chloé and Bottega Veneta, and a large cosmetics area with the world’s leading brands, some of which are exclusive to the store.
Leather goods are a core category, spread over almost 11,000 square feet showcasing brands like Gianvito Rossi, Charlotte Olympia and Isabel Marant.
The men’s store hosts brands such as Armani Collezioni, Kiton, Corneliani, Canali, Luciano Barbera and Polo Ralph Lauren, some of which offer made-to-measure services.
Men’s and women’s departments offer VIP fitting rooms, and the kids’ department features newborn and kids collections of several international brands.
The importance given to art is not secondary in Beymen. Meticulously picked art pieces and furniture are scattered around the store, in addition to six zones allotted for custom artwork designed for the store. A 12-foot-wide sculpture of two reindeer with interlocked horns by Ali Ibrahim Öcal decorates the terrace, and 20 feet of neon artwork by Lale Delibas covers a wall stretching between two floors are two examples. The store supports local artists, showcasing their work and organizing several art events, such as exhibitions or talks.
The architecture of the store is designed to foster a boutiquelike feel. A monumental staircase connects two levels, with a café, gifts and books located on the stair landing.
“It is nice to create a beautiful store, but it is great to create a successful one,” said Wolfgang Michel from Michelgroup, the architecture and design office in charge. “We translated the business plan into design. Customer flow is the key to a successful store.”
Beymen operates 18 stores in total, including seven locations in Istanbul, eight in other cities of Turkey and two stores in the Middle East — in Cairo and Erbil, Iraq.
Zorlu Center is also a destination for upscale dining. Marquee restaurants include Morini, located in the women’s department, where New York’s Michelin-star chef Michael White oversees the menu.