KIEHL’S GOES CALIFORNIA

Byline: Andrea Bermudez

LOS ANGELES — Call it Kiehl’s western expansion.
The company, which is set to open its initial freestanding store outside New York on June 1, has chosen San Francisco for the first of what is expected to be a series of freestanding stores.
According to Michelle Taylor, president of Kiehl’s Since 1851, the company is scouting several locations in “major metropolitan areas” with a goal of opening one to two stores per year, with the next location expected as early as next spring.
Taylor said San Francisco was chosen to launch the company’s retail expansion because of Kiehl’s “huge customer base and one point of sale in the area [at Neiman Marcus].” Taylor added that the locations will not conflict because where Neiman Marcus’ location in the heart of Union Square caters to “more tourists, the Fillmore Street location will service the local clientele. With our stores, we are looking to capture a different customer than we do with our existing retail partners.” Conservative first-year sales for the San Francisco store are expected to “reasonably exceed a million,” said Taylor.
Although more freestanding stores are in the works, “we want to choose locations that are distanced enough from existing partners, rather than compete with them,” said Taylor. “But because we haven’t decided on anything, we’d rather take our time and do it right. Right now we’re hard at work trying to bring our business up to the next level. Our goal is still to increase sales in the stores we’re already in.”
The San Francisco site is located in a 1,500-square-foot space at 2360 Fillmore Street, in the posh Pacific Heights neighborhood. The location “was the perfect combination of existing retail traffic, good feelings and charm,” said Taylor of the vintage Victorian space, which she described as looking “like something right out of a Harry Potter book.”
This store, which is being developed by Chris Harrelson of San Francisco/Houston-based Brand & Allen Architects Inc., will serve as a prototype for future retail and in-store locations and will embody “Kiehl’s commitment to science, service and heritage, but with a modern spin,” said Taylor.
A representative for Brand & Allen said that the project is well into the construction phase, and is expected to be completed within six weeks of press time.

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