Shop Talk: Mona Moore Hits L.A… Stuart Hits the UWS…

A West Side Story

Stuart Weitzman is opening a new store on Manhattan’s Upper West Side on Sept. 4. The shop, designed by Fabio Novembre, is located at Broadway and 75th Street. “Since Fabio is not a retail store designer or architect, he didn’t approach the design concept with a preconceived notion as to how a shoe store ‘should’ look,” said Weitzman, who collaborates with Novembre on all Stuart Weitzman boutiques. “To me, that’s why the design is so unique and interesting — a fresh perspective.”

The store, which features a vanilla and gray color scheme and ribbon-like shelving units that have become Weitzman’s signature retail look, marks the third New York location for the brand. The designer has a boutique in The Shops at Columbus Circle and at 625 Madison Ave.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to bring our products to customers, regardless of the broader economic conditions,” the designer told Footwear News. “Although there are more opportunities in today’s market, we want to ensure we are putting our retail stores in the best possible locations for our customers, as well as the brand. Those locations are traditionally the hardest to come by.”

Three’s Company

Women’s store Shoes on a Shoestring opened a third location in New Mexico, at the San Juan Plaza North in Farmington.

“Farmington is up in the ‘four corners’ region and gets a lot of draw from Colorado, Utah and Arizona,” said owner Dave Riddle.

The location also seemed to withstand the current economic climate, enhancing its appeal, he said. “The retail sales in that area were up 5.8 percent, while everyone else’s were down. It’s a real solid community and it draws about 250,000 people,” he said. “In a lot of other areas, I would have been a little apprehensive opening now, but the competition seemed to be fairly weak. There are a lot of majors, such as JCPenney and Dillard’s, but we really specialize in carrying full lines from various brands.”

The 15,000-sq.-ft. store stocks more than 145 brands, including BCBGirls, Ugg, Enzo Angiolini and Frye, among others.

Mona Moore Hits L.A.

Mona Moore, the Montreal shoe boutique, is set to open its first U.S. location, on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach, Calif.

Owned by Lisa Bush and Anna Maria Varriano, the retailer sells runway footwear styles from brands including Dries Van Noten, Pierre Hardy, Marni, Lanvin and Ann Demeulemeester, as well as bags and jewelry from some of the same designers.

“We love the runway stuff and we like to have exclusives,” said Bush. “We don’t do big corporate brands such as Gucci and Prada. We want merchandise that you really don’t find everywhere.”

To that end, the 1,000-sq.-ft. space, which previously was an art studio, will also stock the new Phi collection and other hard-to-find lines including MA by Maurizio Amadei, formerly of Carpe Diem.

Bush was bullish on the new store, which will hold a grand opening party on Sept. 3, and said she does not expect the recession to dampen the excitement of a new neighborhood boutique.

“It’s interesting to talk to other retailers about consumer [confidence]. Some people say that in a recession, people want basics and other people say that they want something really special,” she said. “We’re in a mindset where we think people always want something special.”

The Mona Moore Web business — which has been booming since it was launched in 2004 and now accounts for about 40 percent of the retailer’s sales — has also been relocated to California.


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