Façonnable has closed its Fifth Avenue flagship in New York City, leaving a valuable real estate opportunity for another brand seeking a high-profile location in the heart of Midtown.
The 21,000-square-foot Façonnable store on Fifth Avenue and 51st Street closed quietly last week. The space was originally expected to go to Club Monaco, according to a real estate source, but “at the 11th hour, they decided not to go forward.”
Façonnable opened the location in fall 2003. It had operated a smaller store in New York City for nine years prior to that.
The Nice, France-based fashion brand’s plans for the U.S. market are unknown. Company officials did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
In the past couple of years, Façonnable has been working to elevate its luxury content and putting more emphasis on its signature line. It has also undergone a corporate restructuring under its owners, M1 Group, a Lebanon-based company that acquired the brand in 2007.
Last spring, Daniel Kearns left the brand as artistic director and the collection’s design was brought in-house.
Façonnable, founded in 1950 by Jean Goldberg, reached its peak in the Sixties, and became known in the Eighties for its fun, striped and colorful shirts evocative of the French Riviera. It was owned for seven years by Nordstrom, which sold it to M1 for $210 million. Its offering is mainly men’s wear.
In an interview last spring, M1 chief executive officer Moustapha El-Solh said the reorganization was intended to enable Façonnable to reduce costs and be more competitive. Sales for the brand are not disclosed; the last public figure was for 2012, when volume was nearly 170 million euros, or $217.6 million at average exchange.
Faith Consolo, chairman of Prudential Douglas Elliman’s retail leasing and sales division, said because the vacated space is in Rockefeller Center, the next tenant “can’t be just anybody.” She expects that the space will be taken by a “cheap chic or fast-fashion” retailer such as Zara or H&M or a sporting goods brand such as Nike or Adidas. “Fitness is fashion today,” she said.
But whoever the tenant will be, it will have “have to have strong financials and build a beautiful store” to adhere to Rockefeller Center’s stringent demands, she said.