Lilly Pulitzer

LOS ANGELES — Lilly Pulitzer is ready to return to retail in California with a store opening in Fashion Island.

The store brings the brand back to retail in Southern California where in the past it operated doors in La Jolla and San Diego. The Fashion Island store in Newport Beach, when it opens in early 2019, will follow the June opening of a location in Hawaii as the brand looks to the West Coast for growth opportunities.

Lilly Pulitzer chief executive officer Michelle Kelly cited Fashion Island’s mix of restaurants and other retailers, as well as it being an outdoor lifestyle center, as the reasons for tapping that location for its California reentry. The specifics on the store’s design have not been determined, but it will reflect its shopper base.

“Every Lilly store is designed with the local market in mind, so we haven’t started on what those specifics will be for Fashion Island but we definitely have something different for all of our stores,” Kelly said. “We do try to bring in the local flavor. Having only 61 stores, it’s still really important to us that every store feel consistent with the brand and feels special and interesting.”

The recently opened store in Maui, for example, has a living orchid wall on the storefront.

The West Coast expansion is part of a larger growth pattern that’s seen the company open stores at an average rate of anywhere from four to six annually since 2012.

Beyond the West Coast, the company opened a store in Jacksonville earlier this year, with plans to open a smaller-format store within the Ritz-Carlton at Key Biscayne in Miami in September. A flagship on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach is also slated to open later this year.

“We are expanding, but we definitely are thoughtful and methodical,” Kelly said. “I don’t want to say slow and steady, but we’re steady. Thoughtful and steady.”

Recent collaborations have helped and are likely to continue to help build awareness as more stores open, the ceo said, pointing to pairings with companies such as the five-piece limited-edition collection for Goop and another with Pottery Barn, where it brought its bright and breezy prints to furniture, bedding and decorative pieces across Pottery Barn, PBteen and Pottery Barn Kids.

“I think it’s really good that we had both of those in advance of our openings in Hawaii and in California,” Kelly said. “So we hope that the West Coast customer starts to hear our name a little more.”

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