This fall and the early months of 2024 promise to bring even more expansion. Citizen, for example, recently announced it is planning to open a three-level, 7,000-square-foot flagship near Rockefeller Center in Manhattan in December that will showcase its timepieces alongside its sibling brands Bulova, Frederique Constant, Accutron and Alpina.
“We want the consumer to have this immersive experience,” Jeffrey Cohen, president of Citizen Watch Co. of America, said.
David Hurley, the New York-based deputy chief executive of the Watches of Switzerland Group, headquartered in Leicester, England, said competition for the best and biggest retail locations had reached a fever pitch. (Indeed, in late July, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury group by both brands and sales, reported its results for the first half of 2023: Operating investments ballooned to 3.6 billion euros, about $3.9 billion, during the period, including €1.5 billion spent on commercial real estate.)
“If you look at the best malls around the U.S., you’ve got the major luxury groups, particularly LVMH and Kering, where it’s almost like a land grab out there,” Mr. Hurley said. “If they’ve got stores that are 5,000 square feet, they’re looking to expand them to 15,000 square feet.”
He cited an example from his own company’s retail playbook: In late 2018, Watches of Switzerland opened its first multibrand store in the United States, in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, followed in March 2019 by a second in the Hudson Yards retail complex. Come January, the company is planning a third city location at One Vanderbilt, a 93-story skyscraper on 42nd Street, next to Grand Central Terminal.