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Kirna Zabête on the Move

Retailer will open a 10,000-square-foot flagship in New York in May in a space twice as large as the original location.

NEW YORK — After 14 years, Kirna Zabête is spreading its wings.

This story first appeared in the February 20, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The new flagship will open in May in a 10,000-square-foot space at 477 Broome Street here — twice as large as the original location at 96 Greene Street, with three to four times the selling space. Sales in the new store will “easily double by the end of next year,” said Beth Buccini, who co-owns the store with Sarah Easley. Sales in subsequent years will rise between five- and eight-fold, she predicted, adding that the original store does more than $1,000 in sales per square foot.

The Web site, which is relaunching, “can also achieve massive growth,” Buccini said.

The women are financing the new store but looking for investors for digital growth “because we’re making a big play in that platform,” Easley said.

The business has outgrown the Greene Street space. “The additional square footage of the new store will make a massive, significant difference,” Buccini said. “We’ll have an eveningwear section where gowns can hang properly and a swimwear section.”

Kirna Zabête will be on one level, allowing “the clothes to breathe,” Buccini said. “We’ll buy deeper into the collections. We’re adding Christian Dior and Nina Ricci. We’re looking at tons of other designers.” The retailer sells Celine, Givenchy, Azzedine Alaïa, Erdem, Joseph Altuzarra, Prabal Gurung and Charlotte Olympia.

“The new store will be a different experience for our loyal ladies,” Easley said. “We’ll offer warm hospitality, but the design will reflect the 41-year-old ladies we’ve become.” Steven Gambrel is designing the boutique with Buccini and Easley. “This is his first retail experience,” said Buccini. “We mix so many vendors and moods into one store — whimsy, glamour, femme fatale — we let the merchandise be the star of the show.”

The original store has lavender floors, a cherry red staircase and yellow jewelry cases. Color will be more sophisticated in the new unit, which will be a more modern, digitalized space. “We’ll use all our digital resources to wardrobe our clients,” she said.

Kirna Zabête championed labels such as Balenciaga, Lanvin and Stella McCartney. The brands will create special pieces for Kirna Zabête’s May opening.

Buccini and Easley in September collaborated with Target as part of The Shops at Target, where store owners were tapped to design products. “The most shocking thing about the Target collaboration is that we found our inner designer,” said Buccini. Kirna Zabête last week launched a six-month collaboration with Nine West. “We’re excited to keep doing projects like that,” Buccini said. “Private label is something we’d like to head toward.”

The Nine West line will be sold in the new store. “When customers buy designer collections, they say, ‘I’d love to get a Kirna Zabête for Target T-shirt,’” said Easley. “It makes them feel smart. Everybody loves a cheap thrill. We’ll continue to offer our clients these little surprises. Shopping should be fun.”