Anthropologie is thinking big in Beverly Hills.
This story first appeared in the March 19, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The more sophisticated sibling of Urban Outfitters this month launched a 16,000-square-foot, two-floor unit on South Beverly Drive, enlarging on its former 10,000-square-foot space on North Beverly Drive.
“Opening stores right now is a challenge for anyone, but this is a relocation for us in an already-successful geographic area,” said chief operating officer Wendy Brown. “Los Angeles, and California as a whole, is one of our top markets.”
The store will have some exclusive merchandise, including dresses from designer Guy Baxter for about $300 and an expanded collection of vintage and reproduced jewelry. Products range from $6 mugs to $178 shoes and a $10,000 antique table.
The space features skylights and clerestory windows, recycled wood floors, white lacquered steel beams and large glass enclosed bookcases lining a central staircase.
The larger space allowed Anthropologie to expand the on-site inventory 10 to 15 percent and add seven dressing rooms, for a total of 17.
Each of the chain’s 121 stores in the U.S. — 28 in California — are a mix of produced furniture, limited quantity designs and one-of-a-kind pieces that Anthropologie buyers shop for at overseas flea markets, antique shops and estate sales.
The South Beverly Drive neighborhood has a decidedly pedestrian atmosphere, with some small boutiques and restaurants and cafes lining the approximate three-block stretch, including the original California Pizza Kitchen. Anthropologie represents the first major apparel chain to join the enclave’s tenant mix.
“They’re a huge, stable brand that can make the difference on a street,” said Jay Luchs, a real estate broker involved in the Anthropologie lease.
The brand came close to leasing a space on Melrose Avenue before settling on the Beverly Hills address, which is being rented for 10 years at $6 a square foot on the lower level and $3 a square foot on the second floor. The space took almost a year to design and remodel, a process made more expensive than usual because of the interior teardown required.
Despite a dismal overall retail forecast for the year, Wade McDevitt, whose firm is the leasing agent for Anthropologie’s new stores and build-outs, said, “I think [the new space] will pay off, it’s a good move. We hope that neighborhood and its vibe will contribute to the success of the store.”