Bal Harbour Shops continues climb in upscale sales
Harbour Shops reaped the benefits of a soaring economy in the high-end
fashion market with a 21.2% increase in sales in March compared to
March 1999, said Stanley Whitman, developer and managing partner.
Whitman said sales at the 15.79-acre mall on Collins Avenue and 96th
Street in Bal Harbour Village reached a whopping $20.9 million this
March, surpassing a $17.25 million sales mark in March '99.
the 35 years we've been established, this is the biggest increase
we've ever had," he said. "It's a happy economy."
Whitman attributes the increase to the mall's merchant mix, strengthening
businesses in South America and Europe, and purchases by visitors
to the Sheraton Bal Harbour across the street.
open-air mall, which promoters say has contributed hundreds of millions
of dollars to Bay Harbour Village city coffers since its inception,
is home to 80 stores, six personal care and service businesses and
make sure the hottest names in fashion are always here," said
Enid Rosenthal, marketing director for Bal Harbour. "I think
we've got the formula down pat. Sales keep jumping."
year, she said, the shops added Celine, a seller of fashions by designer
Michael Kors; Dolce & Gabbana Boutique, its first store in the US
beyond New York; the first Georg Jensen, La Perla, Luca Luca, and
Wolford boutiques in the southeast and one of just two Zegna Sport
stores in the country.
shops have a list of firsts over the years, bringing to South Florida
such upscale brand names as Bulgari, Christian Dior and Prada.
Whitman said Van Cleef & Arpels will open its first jewelry store
in the US there this fall.
said the mall's obligation is to customers, not merchants, so management
lets non-performing stores go all the time.
have had a few stores that have run over $10,000 per square foot in
sales," Mr. Whitman said. "When stores drop under $500 per
square foot, they are on our list to say good-bye."
to figures compiled by the Urban Land Institute, top regional shopping
centers in the country average $227.05 a square foot of a mall's gross
leasable area. At about 500,000 square feet including department
stores Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus and average sales
of $1,200 a square foot, Mr. Whitman said Bal Harbour ranks the highest
in sales of about 49,000 US malls.
Castelo, store manager for Giorgio Armani, said net sales over the
past year have increased for the store at Bal Harbour, though he declined
to say how much.
success resulted from having better clients, not necessarily more
traffic," Mr. Castelo said.
said the store is receiving more customers from South American countries
such as Brazil, where the currency is becoming more stable.
economy has been especially favorable to Bal Harbour's kind of retail
tenants, accrued largely to affluent people," said Herbert Alan
Leeds, president of Leeds Business Counseling Inc. "On a general
basis, the retail economy has been on the upswing 3%-5%, but the rate
of increase is nowhere near Bal Harbour's."
Leeds said he is concerned about whether retail success will persist
after the Federal Reserve's consistent increases of short-term interest
rates. Since June '99, he said, the Federal Reserve has raised interest
five times, most recently to 6.5%.
rate increases are going overboard," he said. "There is
a hidden inflationary risk that could hurt retail. But Bal Harbour
probably won't be affected as much as the lower-priced retail shopping
centers. Their customers are not making mortgage and automobile payments.
They have a more discretionary spending power."
Whitman said he attributes Bal Harbour's long-term success to its
response to market demands.
Miami, this market has always attracted self-made people and rich
people," Mr. Whitman said. "They know how to make money
and spend money."