Gucci Doubles Store Size at South Coast Plaza, Readies Grove Boutique

Profit warnings not withstanding, Gucci is in retail growth mode in Southern California with a mammoth expanded two-story store now open at South Coast Plaza and a new boutique set for late June at The Grove shopping center in Los Angeles.

After nine months of construction at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., the wraps came off the revamped Gucci store, stocked with a full array of creative director Sabato De Sarno‘s men’s and women’s clothing and accessories in a space twice as big as before.

Inside, the sleek decor, designed by the Italian label’s in-house team, is accented by custom marble flooring with geometric shapes drawing inspiration from historic buildings. The walls are marked by clean lines and understated tones enhanced by rich fabrics. The store is created to look like a home, with built-in displays reminiscent of walk-in closets and intimate corners filled with Gucci Décor velvet armchairs, sofas and shaggy wool rugs. There are also two VIP lounges for a more private shopping experience.

The expanded Gucci store covers two levels and doubles its shopping area.

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On the store’s first floor, men’s ready-to-wear, shoes, accessories and the travel collection known as Valigeria, are housed. A curving staircase leads to the second floor where shoppers can peruse the women’s summer and pre-fall ready-to-wear collections, shoes and handbags, fine jewelry as well as Gucci Kids and Gucci Décor.

The expanded store covers 19,000 square feet compared to the 10,000 square feet previously. “This expanded presence in the market will provide our clients an elevated experience, featuring VIP shopping areas on both levels of the boutique and a curated product offering for our clients to discover the best of Gucci’s fashion in one place,” said Federico Turconi, Gucci Americas president and chief executive officer, in an email.

GUCCI Stairs

The Valigeria collection on the first floor.

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He added the new boutique offers clients the opportunity to discover De Sarno’s Gucci Ancora spring 2024 ready-to-wear collection, along with the house’s full range of products. “We are delighted to also introduce several exclusive items for our Southern California clientele in celebration of the opening, including handbags and pieces from the 20th anniversary collection of the Horsebit fine jewelry line.”

Joining the brand’s Southern California presence is a new Gucci boutique opening in two months at The Grove, the high-end outdoor shopping center in L.A., developed by billionaire Rick Caruso. The new store will span 8,000 square feet and will carry a wide selection of men’s and women’s rtw from the summer collection, handbags, accessories, shoes, Gucci Beauty and the Gucci Valigeria collection. It takes over a location once housing a J.Crew store.

The interior will have marble flooring, which will echo the house’s logo on the facade, and rich, lighter tone fabrics on the walls. Racks inspired by classic brass designs will display various products.

Gucci joins several other high-end stores at The Grove, whose major tenants include Nordstrom, Coach, Michael Kors, Frame, Paige, Vince and Apple. This will be the Italian house’s seventh store in the greater L.A. area.

Last year, Gucci made a splash in L.A. by opening one of its most luxurious formats — an exclusive ultra-luxe Salon on the corner of Melrose Place and Melrose Avenue. Marked by a large Gucci billboard overhead, the ivy-shrouded salon is open to top-tier clients by appointment only. Prices at the boutique, which debuted one year ago, start at $43,000 and climb upward. There are only a handful of the Salons around the world.

Gucci, which makes up about half of parent company Kering Group’s revenues, has been struggling against luxury market competitors.

In Kering’s first-quarter financial reporting, Gucci’s revenues, hit by weak demand in China, plummeted 21 percent to 2 billion euros. Kering is predicting that its profit for the first half of this fiscal year will decline 40 percent to 45 percent.

Gucci has undergone several executive changes in the past two years. Longtime creative director Alessandro Michele, on board since 2015, left in late 2022 and was succeeded in early 2023 by De Sarno, who showed his first collection at Milan Fashion Week in September 2023. Gucci’s longtime CEO, Marco Bizzarri, also with the company since 2015, departed last year. He was succeeded by Jean-François Palus, who had been Kering Group’s managing director.

While the brand regularly upgrades its stores, it won’t introduce a new store concept until late 2025 or early 2026, said Claire Roblet, Kering’s director of financial communications and market intelligence, during the first-quarter earnings call.

De Sarno’s collections should account for 25 percent of new products in stores in the second quarter, and by the second half, his designs will represent all the seasonal items on offer, Palus said.

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