PARIS — Marc Jacobs is getting into European Union real estate.

The designer is set to unveil his first fully owned Marc by Marc Jacobs stores in Europe this year, WWD has learned. It will bow at Place du Marché Saint-Honoré by the end of 2008, with a door in London to open in early 2009. A flurry of other openings across Europe is to follow.

Company president Robert Duffy expects the new store on Place du Marché Saint-Honoré to attract other retailers to the highly frequented square off the Rue Saint-Honoré, much as Marc Jacobs’ Palais Royal flagship has lured others, such as Rick Owens and most recently, Acne.

“When we first opened in Palais Royal, people thought we were crazy,” Duffy said. “The new location reminds me of a younger Palais Royal. There’s an energy there and great potential.”

There will be two separate Marc by Marc Jacobs stores on Place du Marché Saint-Honoré — a men’s and a women’s, which will share the square’s number 19 — near American Apparel. A short walk away is Colette. The women’s Marc by Marc Jacobs’ shop, located in an elegant Hausmanian building with an inner courtyard, will spread over 1,500 square feet, while the men’s store around the corner is to cover around 600 square feet.

Meanwhile, across the channel, a fully owned Marc by Marc Jacobs store selling both men’s and women’s clothing will bow at 56 South Audley Street in the beginning of 2009. It will measure 3,000 square feet.

The label plans to extend its retail reach across the Continent, despite looming economic concerns.

“Europe is such a different market, but Marc by Marc Jacobs’ sales per square meter is higher than any other retail store in the world, so we’re confident,” Duffy said, noting the openings will allow for the sale of exclusive merchandise only available in Marc by Marc stores.

Revenues generated so far this year at Marc by Marc Jacobs stores are 30 percent higher than in the same period in 2007, according to Duffy. Sales at Marc Jacobs stores, meantime, remain flat on-year.

The brand is also expanding its retail reach in Europe with joint ventures and franchised boutiques. The label will unveil a franchised Marc by Marc Jacobs store in Madrid before the end of the year, while a Milan-based shop is expected to bow in 2009.

This story first appeared in the April 15, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Altogether, the company will have approximately 170 stores worldwide for its two labels combined by yearend.

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