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Harry Winston has started another chapter in its long history in Southern California with a new store at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif.
This story first appeared in the September 8, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The 1,500-square-foot space launched last month, almost a century after Harry Winston set up shop in downtown Los Angeles and about three years after the luxury jeweler unveiled its 6,000-square-foot, three-level Beverly Hills flagship on Rodeo Drive. The company’s debut in Orange County demonstrates the changing fine jewelry landscape in the region, where the once-distant locale is becoming a mandatory stop for top brands.
“Orange County certainly is one of the most fascinating counties in the country,” said Thomas O’Neill, president of Harry Winston Diamond Corp. “Our target market lives there. It makes perfect sense for a brand like Harry Winston to be in Orange County.”
The South Coast Plaza store joins existing fine jewelry retailers Cartier, David Yurman, Tiffany & Co., Chopard, Mikimoto, Piaget and Van Cleef & Arpels. It is modeled on French architect Thierry Despont’s design for the Beverly Hills flagship, and features silk and bronze paneled walls, ebony furniture, armoires to showcase special pieces, viewing areas for timepieces and engagement rings and a private salon.
O’Neill would not project sales for the location, which is Harry Winston’s 19th worldwide and eighth in the U.S. However, he said, “We are looking at South Coast Plaza being one of the best salons in the network, particularly in the U.S.”
Sales throughout Harry Winston’s retail network increased 27 percent to $74.7 million for the first quarter ended April 30.
Henry Segerstrom, managing partner of South Coast Plaza owner C.J. Segerstrom & Sons, told WWD earlier this year that fine jewelry is the number-one category at the mall, racking up sales of about $5,000 a square foot, five times the shopping center’s average. Judging by those figures, the Harry Winston store could generate $7.5 million in annual sales.
O’Neill said Harry Winston wants to grow its retail base by an average of two to three stores a year, although the only store opening this year has been at South Coast Plaza. Of the next location, he said: “Where that will be depends on where the opportunity comes up. With the South Coast Plaza opportunity, we discussed it for two years. We are looking to focus expansion in the U.S. and Asia.”