NEW YORK — A giant flagship apparently doesn’t suffice.
Louis Vuitton, the French leather goods, shoes, jewelry and ready-to-wear brand, plans to supplement its 11-story flagship at 1 East 57th Street with a smaller shop at 845 Madison Avenue, WWD has learned.
The site was formerly occupied by Gianfranco Ferré, who moved his store to 870 Madison Avenue, as reported. Sources said Vuitton on Madison Avenue, on the northeast corner of 70th Street, will have about 5,000 square feet of space. In Manhattan, Vuitton also has a store at 116 Greene Street in SoHo.
Reportedly, Vuitton plans to open the Madison Avenue shop next year. Executives couldn’t be reached for an official comment, but one employee answering the phone at the corporate offices here said that Madison Avenue was on the planning schedule.
Real estate sources don’t think this is overkill for Vuitton, considering the popularity of the brand and the fact that Madison Avenue and the Upper East Side attract a different audience from the Midtown 57th Street vicinity.
“To me, Madison is dramatically different from Fifth Avenue,” said Faith Consolo, vice chairman of Garrick-Aug Worldwide, real estate brokers. “Madison Avenue attracts well-heeled New Yorkers more than tourists. Once you go north of Barneys [on Madison and 61st Street] you lose the tourists.” Consolo added that Vuitton was able to land the Madison Avenue site by agreeing to a multimillion dollar advance rent payment.
In addition, it’s not unusual for Vuitton to put two or three major stores in cities around the world. In Berlin, for example, there are three Vuitton stores. The company plans to open additional global stores this year in Shanghai, Paris, Tokyo, Johannesburg, and Osaka, Japan, with several smaller stores also slated for 2004.
Louis Vuitton is a division of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
“It wouldn’t be the first time that a luxury brand recognizes that Fifth Avenue and the mid-northern section of Madison Avenue are really catering to two different customers,” noted Gene Spiegelman, senior director, retail services, Cushman & Wakefield. “Cartier has stores on Madison and Fifth Avenues. Cole Haan is in Rockefeller Center on Fifth Avenue and on Madison at 60th Street. It’s a good trend if the retailers make money. Fifth Avenue has a very, very broad exposure with a lot of branding and sales value, and not necessarily everyone who walks on Fifth Avenue walks on Madison Avenue.”
Spiegelman said asking rents for prime Fifth Avenue locations around Rockefeller Center exceed $1,000 a foot and prime Madison Avenue locations between 57th to 72nd Street are generally just shy of $700 a foot.