Byline: Miles Socha

NEW YORK — Marc Jacobs’s retail rollout is picking up steam.
On Thursday, the designer firm said it signed two leases: one for a 4,200-square-foot Beverly Hills flagship; the other for its first men’s wear-only store, a 1,000-square-foot unit in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. They’re slated to open in October and September respectively.
Robert Duffy, president of Marc Jacobs International, also disclosed that he’s eager to open a third Manhattan store, for accessories and footwear, in an uptown location.
By the end of the year, about 20 percent of the company’s revenues should flow in from directly owned retail, a strategy in which both Duffy and LVMH — which owns a third of Jacobs’s business — strongly believe. Duffy said he would ultimately like to see retail contribute upwards of 50 to 60 percent of revenues.
“I actually really love retailing,” he said in an interview. “You really can control your distribution a lot better and offer a lot more product to your customer. One of the reasons I want to open more stores is so I can showcase the entire collections.”
The new leases bring to four the number of new Marc Jacobs collection stores slated to open this year. As reported, Jacobs plans to open an 1,800-square-foot store in downtown San Francisco in July and a three-level unit will rise in September on Omotesanto Street in Tokyo.
“We’re looking to open two or three [collection] stores a year,” Duffy said, noting that he’s currently searching for space in Boston. Paris is a priority for 2001, he noted.
The Beverly Hills flagship at 307 North Rodeo Drive will be in a three-level space previously occupied by a Louis Vuitton store, which last fall moved to Fred Hayman’s former landmark location. Duffy said he’s still working out the floor plan, but he expects to showcase handbags, footwear and other accessories on the main floor.
Meanwhile, the men’s store, at 403 Bleeker, will be in a corner location that is currently vacant and not previously used for retail. Duffy described men’s wear as one of the fastest-growing segments of Jacobs’s business, and one of the key engines behind the rapid retail expansion. Men’s wear currently accounts for roughly half of sales at Jacobs’s SoHo flagship at 163 Mercer Street.
When the men’s unit opens, Duffy said he plans to carry only women’s ready-to-wear at the SoHo location, which will be reconfigured to showcase the new accessories collection, slated to arrive in stores in June.
“I need the space, and we’re redesigning the Mercer Street store and putting in additional fixturing because of the new products,” he said.
Both new stores are being designed by the architectural firm Stephan W. Jaklitsch in a format consistent with the SoHo flagship, which opened on the site of a former garage in 1997.
Like the SoHo and San Francisco stores, the new Beverly Hills and Greenwich Village units will be owned and operated by Marc Jacobs International. The Osaka unit and the upcoming Tokyo store are operated by Renown Look and Mitsubishi, Jacobs’s longtime licensing partners in Japan.

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