LOS ANGELES — Barneys New York said Tuesday that it will open Co-op stores in Los Angeles and Austin, Tex., next spring.

The units will be in The Grove shopping center in Los Angeles and in Austin’s Domain mall, which is to bow in March.

“The strategy here is to open approximately four Co-op stores a year,” said Michael Celestino, executive vice president of stores for Barneys New York. “We’ll have two more potentially for fall of ’07.”

The Co-op concept focuses on contemporary sportswear and premium denim. Barneys last month announced Co-op stores in White Plains, N.Y., and Troy, Mich., in the fall.

The Grove, the open-air center in the Fairfax district owned by Caruso Affiliated, will be one of Barney’s biggest Co-ops — 9,200 square feet on two floors.

“The Grove was kind of a natural,” Celestino said. “We have two Co-ops in L.A. [one in the Beverly Hills flagship and one in South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif.]. They both do exceptionally strong business for us. Co-op is very much the lifestyle of the California customer….There could be more California locations very easily.”

Barneys is using its clustering strategy in Texas, as well. The company opened a Co-op in Houston last spring.

The Austin store will open within the Domain — a village-like shopping center owned by Simon Property Group and anchored by Neiman Marcus and Macy’s — and will cover about 6,500 square feet.

“We thought Texas in general was a great market, and Austin is a great upcoming, affluent community,” Celestino said.

A Barneys New York flagship is to open at Dallas’ NorthPark Center in September.

Steven Balazs, senior leasing representative in Austin for Simon Property Group, said, “Our whole strategy is to merchandise the center up to that luxury level. We still have a lot of shoppers that shop outside the city limits — in Dallas and Houston.”

Todd Russell, senior vice president of leasing at Caruso Affiliated, said, “Co-op is the most ideal luxury retailer out there today that’s suitable for The Grove.”

This story first appeared in the June 21, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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