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Holiday Preview

BY Marianne Wilson

Given the state of the economy, there isn’t all that much for retailers to cheer about these days. And I certainly don’t want to add to the gloom, which is why I nixed my original idea of devoting this column to the bankruptcies, liquidations and store closings that are so much a part of the daily industry headlines.

Instead, I’ve decided to go down a different path and focus on more upbeat news (we’ve taken the same strategy in our cover story) and talk about Manhattan’s newest retail stars. Because while Manhattan is certainly feeling the impact of the economic storm, that hasn’t stopped retailers from unveiling their latest and greatest in time for the holidays.

Here’s a sampling of the new entries:

Bogner: The German sportswear company’s new Manhattan outpost features a sitting area, complete with fireplace and bookshelves (380 W. Broadway).

J. Crew: The company has opened its first store devoted to men’s wear, J. Crew Men’s Shop, in a space formerly occupied by a familiar Tribeca haunt, Liquor Store Bar. The hangout, nightspot feel of the previous tenant has been kept intact, and the original wooden bar has been repurposed as a register counter. Decanters, whiskey bottles and glass tumblers lend a men’s club feel to the space (235 W. Broadway).

And for female shoppers, J. Crew has opened its first store under the J. Crew Collection banner. Understated and art-filled, the boutique has a soft, residential feel that reflects its higher-priced offerings (1035 Madison Ave.).

Juicy Couture: At 12,000 sq. ft., this new Juicy is the largest of the 75 stores operated by the best-performing brand in the Liz Claiborne portfolio. It showcases the brand’s full assortment and, in signature Juicy style, is chock-full of eclectic and tongue-in-cheek elements, from taxidermy deer heads (complete with pearl necklaces) on the walls to mannequins outfitted in tutus and track sweatsuits (650 Fifth Ave.).

Kira Plastinina: The l6-year-old Russian fashion phenom’s newest store has a young, modern look with lots of girly accents (22 W. 34th St.).

Marciano: The newest brand in the Guess?, Inc. stable, Marciano makes its Manhattan debut with a two-level, 6,000-sq.-ft. flagship that boasts a traffic-stopping exterior (a larger-than-life image of a buxom red-haired beauty in a tight skirt and camisole top). The main floor is sleek and contemporary, with lots of mirrors and oversized images from the brand’s ad campaigns. The dressing rooms on both floors are to die for (514 Broadway).

Paul Smith: Just in time for today’s “recessionists,”  designer Paul Smith has opened a store devoted exclusively to marked-down items in the middle of one of the city’s most hip neighborhoods, Williamsburg (280 Grand St., Brooklyn, one subway stop outside of Manhattan).

Sanrio Luxe: Calling all Hello Kitty fans: this new concept from Sanrio, parent company of the Hello Kitty brand, is targeted at young fashion-forward women. It offers an array of apparel and accessories, all of which feature the Kitty logo. The store has a dramatic interior, with walls covered in black wallpaper, a blue ceiling, black crystal chandeliers, and shiny white fixtures (233 W. 42nd St.).

Sanrio Luxe: Calling all Hello Kitty fans: this new concept from Sanrio, parent company of the Hello Kitty brand, is targeted at young fashion-forward women. It offers an array of apparel and accessories, all of which feature the Kitty logo. The store has a dramatic interior, with walls covered in black wallpaper, a blue ceiling, black crystal chandeliers, and shiny white fixtures (233 W. 42nd St.).

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Dillard’s 3Q loss widens

BY CSA STAFF

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. Dillard’s reported a third quarter net loss of $56 million, or 76 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $11.3 million, or 15 cents per share, for the same period last year.

Dillard’s ceo, William Dillard, II, stated, “The oppressive economic environment clearly weighed heavily on our results during the third quarter. We continue to take aggressive action to navigate these challenging times. We announced the closure of 21 under-performing stores during 2008, dramatically reduced capital spending for 2008 and 2009 and are executing appropriate operating expense reduction measures throughout the Company. These efforts are not only designed to position ourselves to weather near-term economic uncertainty but also to position Dillard’s well for the long term.”

Net sales for the quarter were $1.508 billion compared to net sales of $1.633 billion last year. Sales in comparable stores declined 9%.

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Fred’s sees 3Q income growth

BY CSA STAFF

MEMPHIS, Tenn. Fred’s reported net income of $6.1 million, or 15 cents per diluted share for the third quarter 2008, an increase of 32% from net income of $4.6 million or 12 cents per diluted share in the year-earlier quarter.

Fred’s total sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2008 were $418.0 million compared with $419.9 million for the same period last year, with the year-over-year decline of 0.4% reflecting the company’s store-closing program. Excluding stores closed in 2008, total sales from ongoing stores increased 4% over the third quarter of last year. On a comparable-store basis, third quarter sales increased 1.4% versus 1.1% in the year-earlier period.

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