Henri Bendel opened a pair of concept stores last month in Southern California that focus exclusively on Bendel-branded merchandise, including jewelry and accessories, beauty products and an assortment of edibles.

This story first appeared in the December 16, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

A 2,400-square-foot boutique launched at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., followed by a 2,000-square-foot store at Beverly Center mall in Los Angeles.

The Limited Brands Inc.-owned luxury chain has sharpened its focus on its most profitable areas, while getting out of apparel — a companywide shift.

The parent company sold off majority stakes in The Limited and Express chains in 2007. Bendel’s Fifth Avenue flagship, which has been downsized to two floors from three, is offering accessories, handbags, jewelry, gifts, beauty and fragrance from third-party vendors and private label — the other stores will not offer third-party goods.

“Fashion isn’t where we’ve seen our growth, so the shift toward accessories and beauty was a natural one,” Bendel chief executive officer Ed Bucciarelli said in August, when the two Southern California stores were announced.

A San Diego location opened in October 2008 at the Fashion Valley Mall.

The company operates locations in New York City; Columbus, Ohio; Boca Raton and Aventura, Fla.; San Diego; Troy, Mich.; Short Hills, N.J.; King of Prussia, Pa., and Dallas’ NorthPark Center.

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