BURBERRY EXPANDS ON 57TH

Byline: Janet Ozzard

NEW YORK — The plaid has expanded.
Burberry has purchased 7 East 57th Street, next door to its current store here at 9 East 57th Street, and will combine the two to create its U.S. flagship. This confirms a report in WWD Tuesday that Burberry’s was interested in the site, which Escada is vacating to move around the corner to 711 Fifth Avenue.
The renovated Burberry will reflect the new store design that was unveiled in August at the 16,000-square-foot London flagship, and will take two years to complete. During the construction, 9 East 57th Street will stay open for business.
Once the two locations are joined, there will be a total of 36,000 square feet, with 21,000 square feet of selling space over five floors, and 15,000 square feet for offices and inventory.
New stores, and redesigns of existing doors, are a crucial part of the Burberry brand rejuvenation that has been going on for the last two years under chief executive Rose Marie Bravo. But with a market as high-profile as New York, which sets the tone for the U.S. as well as attracting international attention, developing the right retail strategy was tricky.
“Victor Barnett, our chairman, has been working on this for two years,” said Bravo in a telephone interview Wednesday from her office here. “We have been wanting a bigger presence here, but we knew we already had a great location — that corner is pretty fabulous, with Tiffany and Bergdorf Goodman. It’s a powerhouse street, so it was terrific that Victor was able to orchestrate this so we didn’t have to move, but we now will have the space to merchandise properly and show what Burberry has become.”
In addition to Burberry’s classic outerwear and accessories, the store will carry the expanding apparel lines for men and women that are designed by creative director Roberto Menichetti.
Bravo would not give sales projections for the New York store, but said based on what’s been happening in London she anticipates a major sales boost. The London store’s sales were projected to be about $1,500 per square foot, and Bravo said they were “running 20 percent to 25 percent over an aggressive plan.”
She also said that she expected the new store would help its existing wholesale accounts, like those at Barneys New York and Saks Fifth Avenue.
“By enhancing the flagship we bring up the standard and the level of the business overall,” she said. “Besides, it’s not like we’re opening up a new store. This will help people perceive Burberry in a new way.”
Bravo said plans for the interior design haven’t begun yet, but it will be closely related to the London store, which developed the plaid inspiration in myriad ways from the carpet on the staircase to the camel, black, cream and red color scheme of the walls. “That store has a wonderful atmosphere,” she said. Architect Randall A. Ridless, who collaborated on the London store, will also be working on the New York plans.
Ultimately, said Bravo, all the Burberry stores, including the other 18 in the U.S., will be done over in the new look. The Chicago store, on Michigan Avenue, is up for a renovation, and a new 16,000-square-foot store is opening in December in Tokyo.
“I’d like to think over a period of time, that’s what will happen to all the stores,” she said. “But that will take a few years.”

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