Hermes is trading the established Bal Harbour Shops for the burgeoning Miami Design District, an 18-square-block area with a hip undercurrent that's in the throes of gentrification.
The move gives Hermes the opportunity to open a 10,000-square-foot two-level flagship in the Design District in fall 2013, more than double the size of its existing 4,Soo-squarefoot unit at the Bal Harbour Shops. The retailer's lease expires Dec. 31, 2012. Hermes in January will operate a temporary store in the district until its permanent store is ready.
Robert Chavez, president and chief executive officer of Hermes USA, said the move in Miami is as dramatic as Hermes' 2000 decision to replace a S,ooo-square-foot store on East s7th Street with a four-floor lS,ooo-square-foot flagship on Madison Avenue and 62nd Street.
"The plans Craig Robins [the Design District's primary landlord] has for it are quite dynamic," Chavez said. "It's a great thing he's doing, and we want to be a part of it. Our business in Miami has been very strong."
Men's will receive a much larger space, there will be a more significant presentation of watches and jewelry, shoes will be expanded, and accessories, which is "sorely represented, will get a new presentation." Chavez doesn't see any need to expand women's, as it has a fair amount of square footage already.
Furniture will also be added. "We'll increase our home offering significantly. Now we're carrying home in six stores and only three of those stores carry it in a pretty significant way. Adjacent to our new store will be a small St. Louis crystal shop, the first of its kind in the U.S."
Chavez isn't worried about Hermes customers traveling to the Design District. "What Craig is doing in the district is going to significantly change that whole area, and will become a major draw over a longer period of time," he said. "We think other luxury retailers will join us."
Already, Louis Vuitton exited Bal Harbour at the end of May, when its lease expired, and announced its intention to open a Design District store in 2014. Vuitton will also open a new location at the Aventura Mall. Other luxury brands in residence at the Design District include Christian Louboutin and Marni. Robins has said his goal is to sign leases with 20 to 30 luxury retailers over the next five years, and he's targeting other LVMH brands, as well as Prada, Chanel and Gucci.