Taking advantage of the ailing real estate market, Little MissMatched will open a store later this week in what used to be the Chelsea Passage in Barneys New York’s former space in Chicago.

This story first appeared in the December 17, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Little MissMatched, which specializes in legwear, accessories and juniors’ apparel, expects to unveil the boutique Thursday or Friday. There are also plans for an early-to-mid January opening of a Union Station store in Washington that will boost its store count to six.

When the company was approached about taking over 2,000 square feet of the old Barneys store at 35 East Oak Street, “we jumped on it,” said Jessica Varon, director of public relations and marketing. In August, the brand took a similar tactic with a commercial vacancy at 565 Fifth Avenue in New York, which it now occupies.

Last month, Little MissMatched opened an Orlando store, and sales are double what was projected, Varon said. That is helping to fuel annual volume. Last year, Little MissMatched’s retail sales were $32 million, and that figure is expected to increase by 40 percent this year, according to chief financial officer Brigid Foster. Ann Acierno, who joined the company this summer as president, has been trying to give the brand more of a fashion spin. In addition to its signature whimsical socks, the new locations will offer the sportswear for teens and tweens that was introduced for this spring.

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