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Friday, June 8, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Retail Report

New Barneys a big boost for luxury shopping

Seattle Times business reporters

The signature vibrant red awnings have been up for months at Sixth Avenue and Pine Street, beckoning a spring arrival.

It appears spring has finally sprung.

Barneys New York, the luxury fashion retailer known for offering designer collections edited down to the most exclusive items, plans to open June 29 at its new, larger Pacific Place location.

For downtown Seattle, the Barneys expansion bolsters its image as an enclave for international shoppers, whether here for tourism or professional conventions. (Downtown Seattle is to international shoppers what Bellevue Square is to residents in the multi-state region.)

Travelers today tend to be more sophisticated, often researching and planning their trips in detail, before ever laying eyes on the Space Needle.

"Seattle has a number of companies based here that have exported business, culture and innovation to the rest of the world," said David Blandford, spokesman for the convention and visitors bureau. "We find that travelers are educated about those companies."

To be sure, the same shoppers who visit the Nordstrom flagship store and Starbucks' original cafe tend to favor brands such as Tiffany and Barneys New York, creating a strong demand for luxury items.

The new Barneys is nearly a third larger than its current location near Fifth Avenue and Union Street. At 16,448 square feet, the store will debut a larger shoe salon, among a wider selection of merchandise. "It will feel much more like a Barneys that you would see in New York or Chicago," said Dawn Brown, vice president of publicity.

The first floor will feature cosmetics, accessories, women's shoes and women's designer apparel, including brands such as Balenciaga and Prada.

The second floor: men's designer apparel (with designers such as Jil Sander and Dries Van Noten), plus men's and women's co-op areas that offer more contemporary apparel, including designer denim.

Barneys will remain in City Centre through month's end, said Betsy Sutherland, vice president of Bentall Capital U.S., which manages the property.

Bentall has leased more than half of the 9,700-square-foot space to a fashion retailer, but Sutherland declined to name the tenant because "the lease is not signed yet." That retailer is expected to open its doors in October.

In other Pacific Place news:

• Luxury condo buildings feature a personal concierge to book dinner reservations and hold packages. Pacific Place is offering its own version.

The upscale center has invested in technology that allows its concierge to search restaurants, cultural and sporting events in real-time and help shoppers build itineraries and book tickets. An added bonus for downtown residents — it offers complimentary package-delivery service to nearby apartments and condominiums.

• Williams-Sonoma, Max Mara and Twist recently completed expansions. Pike Place Chowder will occupy the Tacone space on level four, while Mexico will remodel part of its restaurant to offer a quick-service taqueria.

• Gap Inc. concept store Forth & Towne closes midmonth with no replacement tenant just yet. "There's been a lot of interest," said Pacific Place marketing manager Lynn Beck. "We are determining what would be the best fit right now."

— Monica Soto Ouchi

Tidbits

Buy dad a meal. Or so says a Father's Day survey by Discover Card. A majority of fathers surveyed by the credit card company said they preferred dinner with the family at a restaurant. The average amount gifters plan to spend this year — $54. Red Robin, it is ... — MSO

Everett Mall said it plans to open 15 new stores in the coming months, including Steve & Barry's on June 20. The affordable fashion retailer recently debuted the Sarah Jessica Parker line, Bitten. (Think ankle-zip crop jeans for under $20 and wedge-heel peep-toe shoes for $10.) But will they fit like Manolos? — MSO

Detra Segar, Pacific Northwest market vice president for Tiffany, is now running the high-end jeweler's Manhattan flagship store. Segar received the promotion after the Pacific Place location was named store of the year in 2006. — MSO

Retail Report appears Fridays. Melissa Allison covers the food and beverage industry. She can be reached at 206-464-3312 or mallison@seattletimes.com. Monica Soto Ouchi covers goods, services and online retail. She can be reached at 206-515-5632 or msoto@seattletimes.com.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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