Now that Hanukkah is over and Christmas is literally around the corner, it's time to look back at this year in shopping. Our economy continued to recover, though we still have a way to go. But consumers are coming back to the stores, and we have some wonderful new or rejuvenated retailers to serve them.
In no particular order, some of the most significant new -- or renewed -- retailers of 2010 (and no, I don't represent any of them!):
Ralph Lauren Mansions - 867 Madison Avenue - 888 Madison Avenue
Dividing his lines into two restored mansions on the Upper East Side, Ralph provides his signature classic American feel to 867 Madison (the Rhinelander Mansions, which he restored in the 1980s, while women and the home are outfitted at the newly refurbished 888, with grand salons and statement staircases.
Hermes Men's Store - 690 Madison Avenue
Thank you, Don Draper! Elegant menswear is back, and the ultra-luxe label spared no expense to provide an elegant setting for ties, suits, shirts, and shoes. Beautifully presented and now a headquarters for men's style.
Dior - 21 East 57th Street
First, the store had the most attractive construction façade I've ever seen - an outsized Dior purse. When the façade came down a few days ago, though, it unveiled one of the most beautiful stores I've ever seen. Floral ceiling reliefs and couches give the impression of a home you've dropped in on rather than a gigantic retailer.
The Value Kings
Nordstrom Rack - 60 East 14th Street
Continuing value's domination of the 14th Street shopping district, this was also Nordstrom's first foray into Manhattan (finally!). And it's paved the way for a full-line Nordstrom to come to the West Side, and a charity shop to open downtown.
Target - 517 East 117th Street
Why should the outer boroughs and 'burbs get all the bargains? The expansion of Marshall's and TJMaxx also give us urban dwellers the same value advantages of our suburban siblings. About time!
Hollister - 666 Fifth Avenue
I'm not exactly its target customer, but its storefront - video screens with a live feed of the Pacific Ocean could change how other stores attract shoppers. Plus, who doesn't like to look at pounding surf?
Forever 21 - 1540 Broadway
The Times Square flagship (and a Fifth Avenue pop-up) is a fabulous visit to fun fast fashion - with New York City cabs as decoration! This has helped re-establish Times Square as a retail destination.
Marc & Michael--They're Everywhere!
Everywhere on Bleecker Street
Okay, maybe not everywhere, and it is a little controversial, but Jacobs' new stores (BookMarc, Marc Jacobs, LittleMarc, Marc by Marc Jacobs) are essentially creating a new department store in the Village.
Michael Kors -667 Madison Avenue - 790 Madison Avenue - 974 Madison Avenue - 101 Prince Street - 384 Bleecker Street
Kors, too, is expanding around the town, with signature and Lifestyle stores. Next up is Fifth Avenue at 20th Street.
Limelight Marketplace - 47 West 20th Street
Converting a church-turned-notorious-disco into a retail center is a brave gamble. Time will tell whether this "Festival of Shops" and eateries will work. But I give them credit for trying - and laud them for preserving so many architectural details of the 19th century church.
And one I'm looking forward to:
Uniqlo - 666 Fifth Avenue
No, it's not open yet - but it's also the largest lease in the history of New York City ($300 million for 15 years), so it's an important vote of confidence in the continuing vitality of retail - and a symbol of Fifth Avenue's egalitarian retail offerings. And it wasn't even my deal!
It's been a wonderful year of new beginnings and rebirths - and I'm looking forward to more in 2011. Next time look for my take on how New York retail has changed over the last decade - and what I dream of for the future.