Monday, October 01, 2007
Luxury Shopping in Bellevue Update!
Now that the Canadian dollar is on par with its American counterpart, it's (sadly) no longer practical for Seattleites to hoof it up to Vancouver and go for broke. Even as Vancouver's gorgeous new Holt Renfrew opens, there's still a lot to look forward to in our own backyard. For one thing, The Bravern, Schnitzer West's bid at building Bellevue's luxury status, has already confirmed Neiman Marcus as the anchor tenant. Now, Jimmy Choo and Hermès have both confirmed as retail tenants, with Ralph Lauren and Salvatore Ferragamo rumored to be looking into the project. At the same time, Kemper Freeman Jr., the man who created The Bellevue Collection, is also hoping to capture the luxury market. While plans for a Saks Fifth Avenue in Bellevue seem to have halted, Freeman is indeed still interested in bringing luxury retailers to the area, something he's been planning for a long time. Bellevue Square is about to undergo a much-needed facelift, and even mid-market stores like Banana Republic, Williams-Sonoma, and Pottery Barn will all be expanded. It seems like the sky's the limit for Bellevue upscale retail. So what does this mean for Seattle? Apparently, a rivalry is in the making. Who will win? The affluent consumer, sans doubt.
Part of the problem with the downtown Nordstrom getting Prada RTW would have been the proximity of other stores that carry Prada within two blocks. Namely, Mario's and Barneys pretty much have Seattleites covered in terms of their Prada needs. Mario's (just a block over) has carried Prada for quite some time, and their selection consists of several classic pieces that more conservative types like to wear, while Barneys (now across the street from Nordstrom) has a tightly-edited but more fashion-forward selection of Prada clothing. Between these two locations, there may not have been a need to oversaturate the two-block radius around downtown Nordstrom with even more Prada clothing. While there may be enough business to carry Prada shoes at all three of these places, the market for Prada RTW certainly requires a different kind of consumer.
Apparently, Aritzia and Lacoste are both coming to Bellevue Square in the next year, meaning the contemporary market is going to see plenty of growth in Bellevue, with Sway & Cake and Nordstrom's Via C, Savvy, and TBD departments already carrying many of the same brands.