Byline: Teena Hammond

LOS ANGELES — Seeking a greater presence in the West, Lacoste is opening a 2,700-square-foot unit at 440 North Rodeo Drive here on Dec. 15 and is scouting space in Orange County, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle and Scottsdale, Ariz.
Details of the expansion were provided by Chrys Fisher, president of Lacoste.
The Lacoste store on Rodeo in Beverly Hills, which replaces a Bruno Magli boutique, will be the company’s largest freestanding store, Fisher said. Lacoste’s other units are on Madison Avenue in Manhattan; The Westchester in White Plains, N.Y.; Short Hills, N.J.; Palm Beach and Bal Harbour, Fla.; King of Prussia, Pa.; Las Vegas, and Honolulu.
The West is being targeted because the Lacoste label has the strongest appeal to customers in warm climates, Fisher said.
“The other thing is we have had a strong customer base in Asian markets for some time,” Fisher added. “The West Coast…has a large population of Asian consumers. Some are residents of the U.S. and another segment travels on the West Coast.”
Fisher declined to project sales volume for the new store. Worldwide sales will be $750 million in 1997, he said.
Currently, men’s wear is 70 percent of sales: women’s, 25 percent, and children’s, 5 percent. Lacoste is trying to boost women’s to 40 percent of overall sales, Fisher said.
“We introduced new classifications of women’s sportswear into our own stores in the last six months,” Fisher said. An example: a Lacoste pique dress that was in the Bergdorf Goodman catalog last year and sold out.
“We had these little blips of sunlight that gave us an indication that there’s an opportunity here,” he added. “We figured, if we approached it as a full collection of sportswear, we might have something year round.”
Last March, Fisher recruited Mary Goldberg as merchandise manager and she developed the 1998 spring collection, he said. “Women’s is probably where the hottest new action is.”

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