Byline: Sharon Edelson

NEW YORK — Revillon, the furrier, is expanding into leathers, sweaters, fine jewelry and accessories and will showcase the new products on Fifth Avenue.
The Paris-based firm has signed a lease to open a two-level, 7,000-square-foot store at 717 Fifth Ave., on the southeast corner of 56th Street.
The space, which has been vacant for a year and a half, was the home of Salvatore Ferragamo, which relocated to Trump Tower.
“We plan to open in May,” said Rebecca de Vives, president of Revillon. “It’s wonderful because it’s almost like a glass case. We will have tremendous visibility in the new store. We’re planning to go beyond furs into high-level accessories.”
Revillon has fur salons in 32 Saks Fifth Avenue locations, but its contract with Saks expires April 30. Some are seasonal salons, de Vives said.
“This is an opportunity for us to open a freestanding store,” de Vives added. “We want to have stores in major areas in the U.S. We could not do it before for contractual reasons.”
She said Revillon plans to open five stores in the U.S. next year, including one in Chicago. Cities in Florida and California are being targeted, too.
In addition, De Vives said Revillon will open four stores in Paris in 1996.
“There are important major markets where we have an existing client base,” she said. “We are trying to create a large-volume business, rather than small salons.”
De Vives said the Fifth Avenue store could do $6 million to $8 million in its first year, adding, “We are presently doing over $6 million at Saks” on Fifth Avenue.
The Revillon deal goes against the trend on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street. In the last two years, the area has seen an influx of entertainment-oriented retailers, such as the Warner Bros. Studio store. Nike Town plans a unit in the former Galeries Lafayette space in Trump Tower and The Disney Store is opening on Fifth Avenue between 55th and 56th Streets.
Frederick’s of Hollywood is reportedly eyeing two potential sites on 57th Street.
Brad Mendelson, a senior managing director of Edward S. Gordon real estate brokerage firm, is marketing a 15,000-square-foot space at 6 West 57th St. that formerly held the Festival Theatre. “I would imagine that an entertainment-type retailer would find it the most interesting.”
On nearby Fifth Avenue, high-fashion retailers are making a comeback. A. Testoni and St. John Knits opened shops between 52nd and 53rd Streets, and Gianni Versace is building a multilevel store with a roof garden between 51st and 52nd Streets.
David Turino, vice president of Shorenstein Co. real estate concern, said prime Fifth Avenue retail space goes for upward of $300 a square foot, little is available and the trend is “a reversal from the entertainment-type users.”
“We think that is good for Fifth Avenue,” he said.

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