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Retail keeps up with the trends and catapults forward.

For New York shoppers, identifying retail trends is an all-consuming pursuit and when it comes to visiting new shops and restaurants, first impressions last a lifetime. We just love to find perfection in shopping! This year's retail forecast promises a slew of sophisticated shops and, most certainly a boom in every kind of retail.

Manhattan Luxury

The word "luxury" is derived from the Latin "luxus," or excess, and is defined as a life of ease and plenty, enjoyed by a privileged few. In New York, this is a retail trend with supreme significance, as more legendary stores are set to make an entrance on our luxury-laden Avenues while others expand their empires.

Fabulous Fifth Avenue is due to host an expansion for a designer that redefines luxury--Gucci. The ink has only just dried on one of the most talked about deals of 2006, bringing the coveted label to an expansive 50,000 s/f, four-level store on the northeast corner of 56th Street and Fifth Avenue. Gucci's grand opening will undoubtedly be a highlight of 2007.

Banks, Banks and More Banks

This trend of 2006 will most certainly be propelled through this year, with even more banks moving into retail space. Some banks are planning to return to the same spaces they vacated just a few years ago! The bank-building binge is dominating the city's landscape, with new openings by Bank of America, Citibank, Commerce, North Fork, Chase, Washington Mutual, and Wachovia--some assuming spaces formerly occupied by Gap, LensCrafters, Bombay and Banana Republic. Banks have truly made the most of their multiple locations, focusing on personal attention, which, they say, leads to more deposits, fee income, tellers signing customers up for a full range of products, and of course, that personal touch.

Breathtaking Rocks and Timepiece Shops

In a recent survey of ultra-wealthy consumers completed by the Luxury Institute, those with a minimum net worth of $5 million rated Harry Winston the leading brand of luxury jewelry by a wide margin, with Buccellati and Cartier also topping the list, respectively. The Luxury Brand Status Index surveyed Asprey, Blue Nile, Boucheron, Buccellati, Bulgari, Carrera y Carrera, Cartier, Chanel, Chopard, David Yurman, DeBeers, Dior, FRED, Graft, Gucci, Harry Winston, Mikimoto, Piaget, Tiffany, and Van Cleef and Arpels

These choice jewelers are constantly shifting locations and renovating, like Bulgari, which will soon unveil an expanded and newly renovated boutique on the corner of 57th Street at 730 Fifth Avenue.

The steadfastly classic Tiffany will finally have a shop on Madison Avenue at number 725, the former home of Chopard, who is moving to a larger space on the southeast corner of 63rd Street at 709 Madison. Leviev will bring their extraordinary diamonds to the first U.S. shop, 698 Madison Avenue at 62nd Street. Asprey of London will finally have a permanent home at 855 Madison Avenue. Pomellato has debuted at 741 Madison Avenue near 64th Street.

Manfredi timepieces and exquisite jewelry is to be perfectly positioned at 470 Park Avenue.

Sub Chrono, high-tech modern Swiss watches, opened its first New York location at 580 Fifth Avenue and 46th Street. Niwaka, the Tiffany of Japan, will launch their flagship at 608 Fifth Avenue in Rockefeller Center.

Galleries Galore

I am happy to share news about all the new art gallery openings that are setting a trend in Soho. Lumas, a German-based art photography gallery, just leased space at 77 Wooster Street. Mimi Ferzt Gallery, Russian art, moved to 81 Greene Street. Pomegranate Gallery has come to 133 Greene Street and focuses on Iraqi artists. Philadelphia-based free art and antiques emporium Berman Galleries will be at 65th Street and Madison Avenue.

Divine Design

Residents of Manhattan, the Home Design Capital of the World, take great pleasure in redecorating their abodes, thanks to the myriad of colorful shops at their doorstep. Antony Todd, floral, event and interior designer, has opened a showroom at 44 East 11th Street, with home accessories, contemporary furniture and antiques. Bellora fine linens is at 156 Wooster Street, while, just one block away, Alessi, Italian home wares, came to 130 Greene Street. BO Concepts took a store on East 57th Street between Second and Third Avenues, next to Maurice Villency. High-end Parsian candle purveyor Diptyque will have a showroom and US headquarters at 11 East 26th Street. Two more Manhattan retail stores are also in the works for 2007.

Star Chefs with Celebrity Power

Manhattan is host to new mega-celebrity restaurants and this trend is sure to keep us satisfied in 2007. Joe1 Robuchon is at the Four Seasons Hotel--his L'Atelier de Robuchon features a luxurious small-plate menu to be enjoyed around the signature U-shaped bar.

Gordon Ramsay has debuted his eponymous restaurant at the new London NYC hotel, 151 West 54th Street. This formal dining room, with seating for 45, takes its cue from the contemporary elegance, exquisite cuisine and unparalleled service of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, the only restaurant in London with three Michelin stars.

Alan Yau, the visionary behind Wagamama, Hakkasan and Yauatcha, will unveil Park Chinois at Inn Schrager's revived Gramercy Park Hotel.

Alain Ducasse will open a new signature restaurant at The St. Regis Hotel in March 2007. The soon-to-be named restaurant will also feature an exciting wine bar designed to educate and delight new and experienced oenophiles alike. Chef Ducasse is the only chef in the world to own and operate three restaurants, each with three Michelin stars.

Here's to another year of refreshing retail trends--and, of course, another year of shopping!

By Faith Hope Consolo, chairman,

Retail Leasing and Sales Division

Prudential Douglas Elliman
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Title Annotation:Annual Review & Forecast
Comment:Retail keeps up with the trends and catapults forward.(Annual Review & Forecast)
Author:Consolo, Faith Hope
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Feb 7, 2007
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