WWD.com/globe-news/specialty-stores/swatch-to-open-on-fifth-avenue-3561620/

Swatch is taking a prime spot on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, according to real estate sources.

This story first appeared in the March 22, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The Swiss watch brand will move into 666 Fifth Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Streets later this year, taking a 2,000-square-foot space.

The move completes the retail lineup of big brands on an already heavily trafficked strip, poised to become even busier, with Uniqlo and Zara planning stores for later this year, as well as Hollister, which recently opened there.

“The traffic on Fifth Avenue is like nowhere else in the world,” said a real estate source. “World-renowned brands want to be there, both for the volume of sales they can generate and the brand recognition. High-end luxury brands have to be there and of course Uniqlo, Abercrombie and now Swatch want to be there too. When Abercrombie opened on Fifth [by 56th Street], everyone laughed at the ceo and said he would be fired in five months.” But he ended up having the last laugh. “They’ve done sales in excess of $8 million a month. No one would have guessed that at all.”

Swatch signed a 15-year lease for the site, and will be paying $2,500 a square foot, which is the going rate for Fifth Avenue in the 50s.

Robert Siegel, chief executive officer of Metropole Realty Advisors Inc. represented Swatch. Bradley Mendelson of Cushman & Wakefield represented the joint venture owning the property, Crown Acquisitions, the Carlyle Group and Jared Kushner. The group owns about 80,000 square feet of retail space, while Zara owns 38,000 square feet on the block, a source said. Swatch has five other stores in Manhattan.