View Slideshow

NEW YORK — Since relaunching its retail business in September 2000 with the first Tommy Hilfiger women’s-only store on Bleecker Street here, the designer has introduced several other retail concepts. Now comes the first children’s wear store, a 3,000-square-foot unit at 6659 Las Vegas Boulevard in Las Vegas.

This story first appeared in the July 28, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

In addition, bowing in September on Collins Avenue in Miami’s South Beach will be a men’s and women’s sportswear shop with a garden in the back leading to a surf store in a separate building. Hilfiger also will open a 3,163-square- foot sportswear unit in the Aventura Mall in South Florida and a 3,868-square-foot store at Plaza Las Americas in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

“We’re looking at A malls around the country,” said Gary Sheinbaum, president of Tommy Hilfiger retail. “We’re also looking at a couple of very exciting street opportunities. We’re going to open five to 10 stores a year. We’re not going to compromise [on the location]. It has to be the right mall with the right co-tenancy and the right location in that mall. We also want the stores to be the right size, from 3,000 to 4,000 square feet. We’re trying to stay very disciplined in what we believe is our formula for success.”

The kids’ store in Las Vegas is a test. “We know we have a great kids’ opportunity,” Sheinbaum said. “This is a new store design. Our kids’ business is very small. It’s only in our SoHo store, where it accounts for 10 to 12 percent of the business.”

The Las Vegas unit has a candy bar, pinball machine and computers where children can create artwork to hang on corkboard walls in the dressing room. The space is decorated with vintage toys and posters and vintage schoolhouse lights. From the outside, the store looks like a traditional American general store.

Hilfiger plans to open two more stores in Las Vegas, one devoted to denim and the other to sportswear. “The Hilfiger denim and sportswear concepts can go into a number of A malls,” Sheinbaum said. “We think lifestyle centers can be part of our overall real estate strategy.”

While the company is eager to see how the children’s store is received, Sheinbaum said, “We’re going to focus more on our other concepts and build those up. We want to establish our sportswear and Hilfiger denim stores.”

Both the Aventura and Plaza Las Americas units were designed using a lighter-colored prototype for resort stores. Both units feature interiors that mix traditional and midcentury design with driftwood and nickel-plated fixtures and hardware and vintage chandeliers hanging from the ceilings. The exteriors have lacquered white facades compared with the black lacquer storefronts of Hilfiger shops in the Northeast. Sheinbaum said the product assortment will be fine-tuned to the local markets.

“We’re understanding in Puerto Rico that the customer likes dressier products, so we’ll certainly cater to that,” he said. “We have enough of an assortment to cater and customize. All of our stores have the same DNA of the brand, but we tweak it a bit to fit the market.”