Retail Guide: Shop Talk

Store openings and closings in Las Vegas, New York and Atlanta.

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Crystals Shines
When economic woes stalled the multibillion-dollar CityCenter development last year, the project’s fate was feared to be doomed. Since opening in December, however, the center’s Crystals shopping area has been a boon for luxury retailers that have set up shop there. The 500,000-sq.-ft. retail destination, designed by Studio Daniel Libeskind, already boasts a number of high-end tenants, including Tom Ford, Lanvin, Miu Miu, Carolina Herrera, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Marni and Paul Smith. This year, Prada, Ermenegildo Zegna and Gucci, among others, will join the roster.

For his shop, Paul Smith pulled out all the stops, constructing an elegant, 3,000-sq.-ft. space featuring luxe materials including limestone, red travertine and wood block flooring. The designer also peppered the store, which stocks men’s and women’s apparel, footwear and accessories, with books and other trinkets.

“Of course we were apprehensive about the timing because the project had started many months before [the economy crashed],” Smith told Footwear News. “Although many of the stores are not yet open, I am pleased to say our sales have been really good, along with the amount of people coming to the store.”

Flipping Out
Flip Flop Shops is betting even bigger on Sin City.

CEO Darin Kraetsch confirmed that the Atlanta-based company, which operates 14 franchised stores, is actively considering locations in Las Vegas’ Fashion Show Mall as well as a casino option for a 2010 opening, although no leases have been signed. Flip Flop Shops bowed its first store in the city last June in the Shoppes at Mandalay Place, and its success has motivated the retailer to expand its footprint.

“The [Mandalay] store has achieved more than half a million dollars in its first six months,” Kraetsch said. “Flip-flops are a very fun, inexpensive pleasure. And people are unbelievably passionate about them.”

The second Las Vegas store is only the beginning of Flip Flop Shops’ busy agenda for 2010: Kraetsch revealed that the company plans to open an additional 40 doors by year’s end.

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