Byline: Pete Born

NEW YORK — It didn’t quite match Margaret Sharkey’s timetable, but it was too good to pass up.
That’s why Helena Rubinstein is getting ready to open shop uptown at Bergdorf Goodman when the store opens its newly renovated cosmetics floor on Nov.15.
Sharkey, the U.S. manager of Helena Rubinstein, had not planned to expand Rubinstein’s distribution beyond the 8,000-square-foot HR Beauty Gallery at 135 Spring Street in SoHo that opened in April.
The game plan was to attract a new audience for the venerable Rubinstein while re-creating a new identity as a hip downtown brand.
Once the new image was planted in the minds of consumers and retailers, perhaps in the second half of 2000, only then could a rollout begin.
Bergdorf’s changed all that when it came calling with plans for its new floor.
“I couldn’t pass up the opportunity,” Sharkey said, noting that there’s no telling when there’ll be another opening as dramatic as this one. “It’s the right thing for the brand. It’ll service the international customer and the uptown shopper and give the brand a stronger presence and make people realize we are in the marketplace.”
To her mind, the combination of the SoHo gallery and the 57th Street fashion emporium offers just the right combination of downtown cool and uptown chic.
At Bergdorf’s, Sharkey noted, Rubinstein will be located in what’s being called the contemporary area, with lines like Fresh, Bloom and Sisley.
The brand will be merchandised from two counters, running parallel to each other, with skin care on one side and color cosmetics on the other.
Sharkey had no comment on the sales possibilities. But industry sources estimate that Rubinstein could do $750,000 to $850,000 at retail the first full year.
She did say, however, that there are no plans for further expansion.