The two anchor tenants at The Mall of San Juan, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom, offered a sneak peek on Monday into their first stores in Puerto Rico, both representing the lap of retail luxury.
During a walk-through of the stores for members of the media, executives from both of the centuries-old retailers expressed confidence in the local market, despite current economic conditions that may not be able to support the high-end price tags of the designer merchandise that each carry.
“There is great opportunity in San Juan: the demand for a luxury store by residents and tourists is growing,” said Marigay McKee, president of Saks Fifth Avenue. “Our new store is a new milestone for Saks Fifth Avenue, and we’re excited to see Puerto Rico as a new horizon for our brand and extend our legendary shopping experience to the area.”
The 100,000 square-foot, two story store offers a selection of luxury brands, including designer names like Stella McCartney, Diane von Furstenberg, Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli, Alexander McQueen, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Etro and Oscar de la Renta, among others. Von Fustenberg will be on hand on Thursday for the store’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The store also included its famous 10022-SHOE designer shoe department, which features an array of styles from the likes of Valentino, Christian Louboutin, Salvatore Ferragamo, Manolo Blahnik, Saint Laurent, Giuseppe Zanotti, and Chloé.
The store’s selection also includes an extensive collection for men, women’s handbags, accessories and cosmetics. The Saks in San Juan will also offer its Fifth Avenue Club personal shopping service and a full-service restaurant, Sophie’s, slated to open April 18.
On the other end of the $475 million shopping mall, owned by Taubman Centers, is Nordstrom, an upscale fashion retailer that is bringing to Puerto Rico its collection of clothing, accessories, handbags, jewelry, cosmetics, and fragrances, which for the most part has been tailored to cater to Puerto Rican tastes and preferences.
Brand names include Manolo Blahnik, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael Kors, Alexander McQueen, Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, and Herve Leger. The San Juan store is also the only place in Puerto Rico where consumers will be able to purchase Top Shop-brand merchandise.
Manolo González, general manager of the San Juan store, said Nordstrom spent more than two years analyzing the local market, to determine the areas where Puerto Ricans most like to shop, and making adjustments to try to serve future clients “in the best possible way.”
“This store has been adjusted in many ways for the Puerto Rico market, for example, the price range,” said González. “The store’s price range is between mid-range and designer and has been designed so that everybody finds what they’re looking for, including high-end merchandise.”
The 138,000 square-foot, two-level, full-line store employs 642 people, and features the chain’s newest layout and design, which includes a restaurant (Bazille), a bar (Habitant) and an espresso bar.
“This the prototype we’re using for the newer stores. In fact, Habitant is just the second location in the chain,” he said.