MONTENPOLEONE TO SHUT MAD. AVE. SHOP

Byline: Karyn Monget

NEW YORK — Even on Madison Avenue, there can be too much luxury.
That’s one possible conclusion to be drawn from the fate of Montenapoleone, an upscale lingerie boutique that will close its doors by Jan. 15 after 20 years at 789 Madison Avenue, near East 67th Street.
Maria Scotto, president, said annual sales were $1 million in 1994, but revenues declined 25 percent in the past two years. She attributed the drop in volume to the appearance of another luxury Italian lingerie boutique, La Perla, which opened in November 1994 at 777 Madison Avenue, just a few doors away on the very same block.
Scotto said she had done a “strong” business with the high-end La Perla bras and coordinating panties, as well as La Perla’s bridge line, Malitzia.
“They stopped selling La Perla merchandise to us when they opened their store,” said Scotto, who has managed the shop for 10 years. “I look at all of the shops on Madison Avenue now, and all I see are these big names that can spend half a million just to redo a store front.”
A spokeswoman at the La Perla showroom and offices here at 745 Fifth Avenue said the Italian manufacturer stopped selling its intimate apparel to Montenapoleone “because the stores were only two doors apart.”
Annual sales at the La Perla boutique are estimated at $2 million. The Bologna-based maker of intimate apparel, ready-to-wear and swimwear generates yearly worldwide sales of more than $200 million. The firm spent $500,000 reconstructing and decorating the New York boutique.
Montenapoleone is owned by a group of private investors who are based in Milan.
Scotto said the store’s lease ran for another seven years, but noted that she had been considering closing the store for the past year. She did not make a decision to close until October, however, when private real estate investors bought the building from Love Realty.
“We had some offers from other companies to buy out the lease, but this was a much better situation,” Scotto said. “I believe they are looking for a big name.”
In preparing for the final shutdown, Scotto noted, “I’ve started sending out letters to our best customers, informing them we will be closing. Many customers are upset, because they’ve been shopping here for 20 years.”
Scotto said a closeout sale will begin Dec. 2. The sale will cover all the shop’s merchandise, primarily private label luxury items, including silk sleepwear and robes, lace-embellished bras and coordinating panties, and long wrap cashmere robes.
As for Scotto, she said she wants to do private label merchandising.
“After all,” she added, “that’s what I was doing at Montenapoleone.”

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