Byline: Sharon Edelson

NEW YORK — Prada, which just opened an 18,000-square-foot flagship on Madison Avenue and 70th Street in October, is now reportedly searching for a major space on Fifth Avenue between 50th and 59th Streets.
Sources said the Madison Avenue flagship’s success and a desire to control its distribution more closely prompted the search for a second flagship about 10,000 square feet in size.
“There are only a very limited number of spaces on Fifth Avenue — and they’re very expensive,” said a real estate broker, who noted that potential sites include the Doubleday bookstore between 56th and 57th Streets, which is currently on the market.
Prada’s original Manhattan store continues to operate at 45 East 57th Street. The 800-square-foot unit sells sportswear, shoes and handbags. Co-owner Patrizio Bertelli, whose wife is Prada designer Miuccia Prada, has said the company will open a men’s store on the same block on 57th Street in 1998.
According to retail experts, a Prada unit on Fifth Avenue probably won’t cannibalize the company’s existing stores.
The Madison Avenue flagship attracts the East Side residential community and guests of upper Madison Avenue hotels, retail experts noted. A Fifth Avenue store could capture the enormous Fifth Avenue tourist traffic.
A Prada spokeswoman said Tuesday she was unaware of a store planned for Fifth Avenue, adding, “Fifth Avenue is not an immediate priority.”
Worldwide, 42 company-owned Prada shops are slated to open this year, as well as nine Miu Miu boutiques and two Granello shoe and bag shops, making a total of 136 directly owned boutiques. Prada’s strong sales have been supporting the expansion. This year, Prada is expected to do $480 million in worldwide sales, while the projection for 1998 is $620 million.
Last month, Bertelli said the demand for Prada’s products is exceeding the production capacity.

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