The Shops at Crystals

Flashy works at retail, especially on the Las Vegas Strip.

Take the luxury shopping center the Shops at Crystals, with its all-luxury tenant roster, as an example of where traditional marketing efforts just won’t do. To that end, the Shops at Crystals, Mikimoto and the Nevada Ballet Theatre have linked to put together a $50,000 gift package that includes a limited-edition Mikimoto pearl necklace, dinner at the retail center and box seating for eight to see “The Nutcracker” at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, among other perks.

“We share a similar clientele and way we represent our brands,” said The Shops at Crystals director of marketing Monique Clements. “We wanted to do something big that one of our top donors can purchase that would be really special.”

The 324,000-square-foot retail center, part of Simon Property Group LP, counts luxury tenants such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Tom Ford, Prada, Céline, Saint Laurent Paris, Fendi, Richard Mille and Tiffany & Co. among its shops. It’s part of the mixed-use CityCenter complex that also includes the Aria Resort & Casino and Vdara Hotel & Spa properties.

The Shops at Crystals package follows the retail center’s Signature Event earlier this month, which treated 90 VIP guests — a mix of some 60 top shoppers, 10 guests flown in from Los Angeles and the remainder top casino guests from the Aria and Cosmpolitan — to a Wolfgang Puck-catered dinner and pop-up shops on the center’s first floor. Twenty-nine of the center’s tenants offered limited-edition, one-of-a-kind pieces for purchase, ranging from a Stefano Ricci crocodile and bobcat jacket retailing for $350,000 to two watches each priced at more than $500,000. Overall sales for the evening exceeded $150,000, Clements said.

“Sales far exceeded my expectations,” she said. “Of course, I wanted it to be a sale-based event, but the whole purpose was to have our store managers build relationships with new clients or really just build upon relationships with existing clients as well.”

A slight softening in traffic from Chinese tourists who have less to spend and may not be traveling as frequently as in the past few years has pushed the center to turn some of its focus to domestic clients, the executive said. “That links back to why I decided to do the Signature Event in the first place – to remind those local clients we’re right in their backyard,” Clements said.

This year marked a test of the Signature concept, but Clements said the goal would be to make it an annual event.

With the holidays approaching, The Shops at Crystals is gearing up for an uptick in business, although it’s not driven by the season of gift-giving, Clements said.

“With a majority of our shopping clientele being international, we are one of the few centers where we don’t have things like a Santa because our international clientele, it’s not something that appeals to them,” she said. “So while we don’t see an uptick in traffic due to the holiday season, we do see an uptick due to room rates in Las Vegas being lower and we’re already starting to see that.”

Visitors from India, the Middle East and China have already started to increase in a trend that will continue through the Chinese New Year, Clements said.

Overall, the center is expected to wrap the year on a strong note. Unlike retailers off the Strip or in other markets impacted by shifts in factors such as seasonality or online shopping, those on Las Vegas Boulevard are far more sensitive to factors such as fluctuating exchange rates, flight patterns, room rates and travel laws.

“We’re one of the lucky ones in the retail industry that aren’t affected by the popularity of online shopping necessarily,” Clements said. “If you’re going to buy a $50,000 purse, odds are you’re going to want to see it, hold it and touch it. In the past couple of years, we’ve seen a big uptick in domestic clients, which has been a nice change.”

For More West Coast Coverage in WWD:

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