Two of the country's most prominent retail streets welcomed new tenants recently. A specialty 20,200-square-foot Hermes store opened on New York's Madison Avenue, and a massive, 271,000-square-foot Nordstrom debuted on Chicago's Michigan Avenue.
Hermes, which operates 15 freestanding U.S. stores, as well as boutiques in Richards of Greenwich, Conn. and Marshall Field's in Chicago, opened the new five-floor location on the corner of 62nd St., replacing the much smaller 57th St. store that was formerly its Manhattan presence.
Rena Dumas, Paris-based interior architect and wife of Hermes chairman and ceo Jean-Louis Dumas-Hermes, redesigned the store with the hope of nearly duplicating the brand's Paris location while adding a New York vibe. A spiral staircase with a custom-made leather handrail features limestone steps. Mosaic tiles, brushed-nickel fixtures and Pennsylvania cherry wood displays are intended to lend a contemporary-though-warm air to the space. But cozy or not, the new store offers three times the selling space of the former location, supporting an expanded merchandise offering, which includes men's and women's wear, accessories, jewelry and home goods.
Nordstrom's four-story Chicago monster is expected to increase shopping traffic on Michigan Avenue's southern end. The store is actually set a block back from the "Magnificent Mile," with a general entrance on the street where customers enter shops at North Bridge, a nine-block development that includes a four-story mall, hotels and restaurants. A 200-foot corridor leads to Nordstrom entrances on all four levels.
The new store is the Seattle-based retailer's fourth Chicago location, following stores in Oak Brook, Skokie and Schaumburg. It features large screens in the elevator wells showcasing slide shows of the latest fashions. Light marble flooring, carpeting and hardwood flooring differentiate various selling areas. Upholstered furniture and wood tables accent the men's floor, which features an 8500-square-foot tailored clothing section.