Posted on October 06, 2009
If you are a retailer or designer and the economy is in terrible shape, you A) Lie low, eat a lot of cookies, and hope the recession ends soon B) 2) Open a multi-million dollar retail emporium on New York’s Fifth Avenue C) 3) Start manufacturing rayon socks to sell in 99-cent stores The answer is B—at least if you’re Tommy Hilfiger (or at least his sportswear company), whose company recently opened just such a store on Fifth Avenue in New York City in the middle of the worst recession in years. Hilfiger is best known for his mid-priced American sportswear, and while Fifth Avenue may not seem like a natural habitat, stores like Abercrombie and Fitch and even the Gap have found a home there; it’s a natural Mecca for tourists. The 22,000 square-foot store (681 Fifth Avenue; between 53rd and 54th Streets) occupies the space formerly held by Fortunoff for 30 years. The store offers four floors of goods, and is the first to offer everything Tommy Hilfiger, from men and womenswear to accessories, denim and its home collection. How much will this gambit cost? Estimates put the rent at around $1500 per square foot. If you're feverishly doing the calculations, trust us--that’s a lot of sunglasses he has to sell every year. His clothes may not be couture--but opening a store like that in the middle of this economy is certainly a luxury.