LOS ANGELES — Whether the item was a $795 gold-quilted Cammi handbag or $850 ostrich flats, price was no object for customers at the new Marc Jacobs door in Las Vegas on Thanksgiving weekend.
“They just buy what they like, like that,” Marc Jacobs president Robert Duffy said of costumers at the company’s 1,100-square-foot collections store in The Forum Shops at Caesars, which opened Friday. “The traffic that goes by here is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”
Duffy said the newest location — next to Harry Winston, a space formerly occupied by Luca Luca — surpassed sales numbers at Marc Jacobs stores in Boston, Bal Harbour and San Francisco. He declined to provide specifics.
However, Duffy’s expectations ran higher than for other doors. “I know the Forum Shops volume is huge,” he said.
The Forum Shops average sales of $1,433 a square foot, the highest in the U.S. Almost 36 million tourists visit Las Vegas annually.
Even with those numbers, Duffy, who projected this store could do $4 million in sales annually or better, admitted that Sin City wasn’t high on his list for a Marc Jacobs address.
“We resisted coming to Las Vegas,” he said. “I don’t like malls. I don’t get them. But here we have our own windows on the outside looking out on the Strip, so I didn’t feel like I was in the mall.”
Leading up to the opening, Duffy observed Vegas is “definitely a different clientele.”
That was obvious in a retail center that closes at 11 p.m. “It’s the weirdest thing to see people walking around with their to-go cocktails, just walking into Chanel,” Duffy said.
But location dictates merchandise offerings, and Duffy and his team immediately realized where to make adjustments.
Much of the product skewed for the Los Angeles client base —”more gowns, more high heels and more body-conscious looks — could translate here.”
Lighter-weight clothing, particularly resort, is also more at home in Vegas.
Nor will the store contain women’s product only, as originally planned.
During training sessions with the staff four days before opening, Duffy allowed a couple entrance, and the husband convinced Duffy to stock at least some men’s product. What arrived in time for the opening flew out: men’s shoes, thermal cashmere sweaters and other items accounted for 50 percent of weekend sales.
“That was the big surprise,” said Duffy, adding they are rethinking the approach to men’s in an already limited space. Opening another door dedicated to men’s wouldn’t be out of the question.
The same goes, Duffy noted, for a Marc by Marc Jacobs store in the gambling — and shopping — mecca.
The opening is just the latest brand expansion in the West.
This month in Los Angeles, the company added a third door to its Melrose Place campus, this one housing the men’s collection. It’s the first freestanding men’s store in the company’s retail stable.
Across from the main store, the 1,000-square-foot men’s shop occupies a space that originally served as a salon for studio services and VIP clients.
“It got to be where we couldn’t show the whole men’s collection the way it should be shown and it suffered,” said Duffy. “But the men’s business doubled since we opened. The whole collection is out — underwear, accessories, shoes. They had been there before [in the main shop] but you couldn’t see them as well.”
In March, the designer will have a second San Francisco address when a Marc by Marc Jacobs door opens on Fillmore Street, with about 2,000 square feet of selling floor. “The West Coast has been great business for us,” added Duffy.