BAILY BANKS & BIDDLE BLUEPRINTS A DOWNTOWN FLAGSHIP IN SEATTLE

Byline: Wendy Hessen

NEW YORK — Bailey Banks & Biddle is breaking away from the mall.
The most upscale division of the jewelry firm Zale Corp., Bailey unveiled plans Wednesday for its first downtown flagship, slated to open in November in Seattle.
A formal announcement is expected Friday.
Situated in the center of Seattle’s retail hub, Bailey will occupy 6,275 square feet of prime retail space, in the former Nordstrom flagship site at the corner of Pine Street and Westlake Park.
“The location is ground zero for retailing in downtown Seattle, in the midst of what is a very vital shopping district,” said Beryl Raff, president and chief operating officer, Zale Corp. “We will have a large entrance on Pine Street, with such great neighbors as The Bon Marche, the new Nordstrom and the Pacific Place mall.”
Bailey will also have a fair number of jewelry neighbors. Tiffany and Cartier each operate units in Pacific Place, and the third Galleries at Neiman Marcus store is slated to open on Oct. 1 in the Westlake Center on nearby Fifth Avenue.
The former Nordstrom store, actually a conglomeration of three buildings that the company acquired over time, is being turned into a retail and office complex by Pine Street Development, which also developed Pacific Place.
Besides Bailey Banks & Biddle, the western catalog and retailer Coldwater Creek will occupy a portion of the space, according to Matt Griffin, manager of Pine Street Development. He said there will be four other retail tenants filling about 75,000 square feet on the street and lower levels, but declined to name them.
In addition to Bailey and Coldwater Creek, several of the other tenants are expected to open before Christmas, he said.
“Our space is exactly where the Nordstrom shoe department was, their largest and most highly trafficked department,” said Raff. “While our core business will be the same, with so much space, we will offer expanded assortments in jewelry, watches and gifts as well.”
There are 107 Bailey Banks & Biddle stores in 25 states, but the average store is about 2,500 to 3,500 square feet. Average sales per store last year were $2.3 million, but Raff said that figure is tracking a bit higher this year, reaching about $2.5 million. The average purchase has risen this year also, she pointed out, from $525 last year to about $650.
Raff declined to say what the division’s sales were this year, but noted that “Bailey is on track for very significant growth this year. We are experiencing very nice growth on a comp-store basis this year.” Zale Corp.’s fiscal year ended July 31.
Bailey Banks & Biddle is also opening stores in Mission Viejo, Calif., this month, Boston’s Copley Place in November, and in Puerto Rico’s Plaza Las Americanas in February.

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