NEW YORK — The ranks of luxury stores in SoHo are thinning.

Ferragamo on Monday said its downtown store, a 5,200-square-foot space on two levels, is being actively marketed by CB Richard Ellis.

“Ferragamo USA Inc. has placed the retail space located at 122 Spring Street on the market,” said Massimo Ferragamo, chairman of the U.S. affiliate of the Florentine luxury house. The store will remain open until a new tenant is found.

The decision to market the space was prompted by several business factors, according to Ferragamo. “This is an advantageous moment to entertain offers on the property,” he said. “This is a real estate opportunity, independent from the retail business.”

Ferragamo is asking $200 a square foot for the prime location on Spring Street and the corner of Greene Street, a price brokers said is realistic. Three years ago the same space would have rented for $300 or $350. “There’s been a tremendous softening in the market,” said Caroline Banker, a broker at Douglas-Elliman.

Prada, Bottega Veneta, Chanel, Ferragamo and Burberry opened stores in SoHo in 2000 and 2001. Barbara Cirkva, executive vice president of fashion at Chanel Inc., said the company is pleased with the performance of its SoHo store. The company, which has adapted the merchandise mix to appeal to SoHo shoppers, sells lots of sunglasses and accessories.

But it’s no secret that selling luxury goods in SoHo has been tough for some.

Cartier, Yves Saint Laurent, H. Stern and Ermenegildo Zegna also made commitments to the neighborhood, but either occupied their spaces briefly or never moved in.

Luxury firms in SoHo were hurt when tourism dried up as a result of 9/11 and the ailing economy. Tourism has never fully recovered. Brokers said many spaces have been vacant for some time and most new deals are being signed on Broadway rather than the interior streets of SoHo.

Other stores being openly marketed include the Barry Kielselstein-Cord boutique on West Broadway.

“We think the strength right now is on Broadway and it’s being driven by the strength of Bloomingdale’s,” said Bette Ende, managing director of PBS Realty. “Contemporary merchandise is more compelling to office workers and residents and that’s having an effect on retail.”

This story first appeared in the September 30, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

— Sharon Edelson