Byline: Holly Haber

HOUSTON — Louis Vuitton has nearly doubled the size of its Houston boutique in the Galleria mall by opening in a new corner location two doors down from its former store.
At 1,700 square feet, the new store, which opened April 28, sells the complete Vuitton line of accessories, luggage and leather goods. The additional space enables the store to display broader assortments of Vuitton’s Damier check canvas accessories and men’s Taiga line, as well as the new Monogram Vernis patent leather accessories line designed by Marc Jacobs, said Patricia Smith, general manager of the unit.
The company doesn’t plan to sell Jacobs’s clothing line for Vuitton in Houston. That collection will debut this fall at a new Vuitton unit on Greene Street in New York’s SoHo, which is expected to open in August or September.
In addition, a new, larger store in Los Angeles is scheduled to open late this year in the former Fred Hayman location on Rodeo Drive and will carry the ready-to-wear.
Vuitton has had a store in Houston for 14 years. This new unit represents the third location it has had in the Galleria mall.
“Business is fabulous — we just keep growing,” Smith enthused. “This has been one of the most consistently growing locations in the U.S.”
The store achieved a 34 percent sales hike so far this year and posted a similar gain in 1997, she noted. The company declined to reveal sales volume or projections.
The new Monogram Vernis accessories, which arrived two weeks ago, have been hot sellers. Smith said she presold so many pieces over the telephone that she wasn’t sure she would have any left to display. The store is decorated in typical Vuitton style with blue-gray carpeting and oak, brass and leather fixtures.

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