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5th Avenue for Rent: Sean John and Zara Get Ready to Move In

Sean Combs is about to change the face of Fifth Avenue in the 40s with his first Sean John store, WWD has learned.

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NEW YORK — Fifth Avenue is about to get some big-name tenants — Sean John and Zara.

Sean "P. Diddy" Combs is poised to enter retailing, with his first Sean John store expected to open on Fifth Avenue and 41st Street, WWD has learned. The Sean John shop will help bridge the large fashion gap between Saks Fifth Avenue at 49th Street and Lord & Taylor at 38th Street.

Real estate sources also said Zara will move into the Faconnable location on Fifth and 54th Street, when Façonnable, which is owned by Nordstrom, relocates to Rockefeller Center this summer. Zara already has four stores in Manhattan, in SoHo; on 59th Street and Lexington Avenue; on Fifth Avenue and 17th Street, and on West 34th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. In addition, Apple, which also has a store in SoHo, is said to be eyeing midtown Fifth.

According to sources, Sean John is taking a 3,800-square-foot space, but no lease has been signed yet. Negotiations are in advanced stages, though the company has been talking to multiple landlords who have available properties on 41st Street and Fifth Avenue. One site, which seems to be the front-runner, is on the southeast corner of Fifth and 41st, while another site is between East 41st and 42nd Streets. If a deal is announced soon, it’s possible the store will be up and running for the Christmas season.

"I know he’s been negotiating with a couple of landlords," said a source familiar with the situation. Another source said that P. Diddy wants to launch a women’s collection, which will help fill any retail space he takes. He did feature women’s apparel on the runway in February. Currently, Sean Jean offers men’s and children’s wear.

In some ways, it’s a curious move for P. Diddy. While Fifth Avenue between 49th and 38th Streets is a high traffic area, it’s a virtual dead zone for fashion, with only a handful of apparel shops operating along the stretch, including Ann Taylor, Barami, Fossil, Forman’s and The New York Look. Otherwise, it’s a hodgepodge of B-level retailers selling computers, cell phones, cheap souvenirs and fast food catering to office workers and tourists.
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