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Topshop owner Sir Philip Green is heading to the American West.
This story first appeared in the February 27, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Green is set to open the first Topshop and Topman store in Las Vegas next month, and will today reveal plans to open his first Los Angeles store at The Grove shopping center. The 25,000-square-foot L.A. store is set to open in February 2013.
“We were looking everywhere, at a lot of isolated sites, but we developed a relationship with Rick Caruso and he stuck with us — he could have had a lot of other brands in there, and he wanted us,” said Green. “We talked to other tenants who are happy, and there’s easy access and good foot traffic.”
Topshop and Topman will take over the space occupied for the past 10 years by Banana Republic, which will move to another, smaller location at The Grove. The Los Angeles unit will be the fourth Topshop location in the U.S., after New York, Chicago and Las Vegas — a 22,000-square-foot store that is set to open on March 8 at Fashion Show Mall.
Green said the Los Angeles store’s design has to be finalized, but he wants each new Topshop to be “fresh, individual and different in each city.”
Wooing Topshop to The Grove represents a major coup for Caruso Affiliated. In an interview in Los Angeles, president and chief executive officer Caruso told WWD that discussions with Green took place over two years before Topshop settled on the space at a prominent corner of the lifestyle shopping center.
“The key thing for us is we wanted a full complement of Topshop. We didn’t want them to have a smaller space where they would have to edit down, and where they wouldn’t be able to do men’s, which is very important,” Caruso said.
“It is going to even expand our trade area. It is going to be the only Topshop in the L.A. region, probably for a long time,” said Caruso, who acknowledged he’d eventually like Topshop to open at The Americana at Brand, his property in Glendale, Calif., as well.
Caruso said he’s confident the store at The Grove would be one of Topshop’s best-performing units, if not the best. He noted Nordstrom and The Cheesecake Factory have their top locations at The Grove, and that The Grove’s annual sales per square foot are running about $1,400, which puts it among the top-five shopping centers in the U.S. in terms of sales.
If sales per square foot continue in that vein, Topshop should generate at least $35 million annually at The Grove. Asked to comment on that projection, Green simply said: “From his mouth to God’s ears.”
Caruso said Topshop Los Angeles will be helped by less fast-fashion competition than in New York. In Los Angeles, Zara and Forever 21 have substantial presences, but Uniqlo has yet to set up shop. Caruso said that in Los Angeles, “You have a lot of different retailers, but in that category, it is really not that crowded. I think they are going to have huge success. If I didn’t feel that way, I wouldn’t do it. We don’t need it. The Grove is successful on its own.”
Green said he’s looking forward to using Las Vegas as a “base” to develop the business in Los Angeles. “We’ll use the time between the two openings to learn. I’m thinking of doing some pop-ups and house parties in L.A. before the opening, and taking some L.A. stylists to the Las Vegas store. There will be a big ‘learn’ in those months,” he said, adding that Topshop should play well in both cities.
“I like L.A. It’s a good combination of business and pleasure, and I like the laid-back lifestyle. And I think Vegas is our customer. There are a hell of a lot of young people in and out of the city — and lots of parties going on,” he said.
Asked about what he’s learned so far about the U.S. market, Green said: “A trend is a trend is a trend. A mix of clicks and bricks feels right for us. New York is trading well and we’re building the online business there, too. We need another three months in Chicago before we can make any judgments. Each time we open a store we learn something new, but we do know what we stand for: We’re first to market, we’re about trends and people don’t need us for basics. And we’ve got to be fresh and on our game.”