DALLAS — Accessories, the fastest-growing business at Valentino, are spotlighted at the company’s newest store at NorthPark Center here.

This story first appeared in the December 17, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Handbags and sunglasses are prominently displayed at the front, followed by a middle space for shoes, evening bags and the cash wrap, with women’s ready-to-wear at the rear.

“In many markets around the world we are dedicating a higher share of square footage to our accessories, without taking away space for ready-to-wear, which will always remain the core of our business because it is the essence of the brand,” explained Graziano de Boni, president of global sales, marketing and retail for Valentino.

Accessories represent a quarter of brand revenue and have been growing more than 30 percent annually for the last three years, he said.

Overall, Valentino will post record worldwide wholesale and retail sales this year, de Boni said. He declined to disclose figures.

At 2,700 square feet, the Dallas unit reflects the company’s expansion of average store size from about 2,300 square feet. It continues the ebony oak and white limestone decor originated several years ago by architect Antonio Citterio and updated this year in Rome for the company’s 45th anniversary.

Valentino opened Nov. 23, situated between Bottega Veneta and Giorgio Armani and across from Cartier and David Yurman in an all-luxury corridor developed over the past two years. The brand has long been carried locally at Neiman Marcus, Stanley Korshak and Carla Martinengo.

“Dallas has always been on the map for us to open a store, and Texas in general has always been a great market for the Valentino brand,” de Boni said. “Of all the centers in the Dallas area, it was a natural for us to open at NorthPark because of the work they have done and because of [the mall’s] location.”

Valentino’s 68 stores account for half of the business worldwide, and Dallas is the eighth in the U.S. The company is scouting for sites in San Francisco and Chicago, and plans to open stores next year in Bahrain and Qatar with a probable unit in Moscow in 2009.

“We are not rushing to open stores,” de Boni said. “We believe that retail is a major component of our business development, but not at the expense of the profitability of the business. We believe the stores should be making money. They are not just advertising.”