12/16/2011 01:53 pm ET | Updated Feb 15, 2012

The Faithful Shopper: Top Trends for 2011

It's been an amazing shopping year in New York City, with new stores, new looks, and new visitors (50 million of them!). Going through a list of the news around town over 2011, a number of trends are clear for us Faithful Shoppers:

Renovation Realities
The old saying that "The only constant is change" certainly applies to our retail. Even iconic stores must constantly present a new, fresh face to keep shoppers coming. Over the last year, a number of major retailers, several relatively new, have revamped their stores to keep up with the customers. Among my favorites:

Apple's simplified cube at 767 Fifth Avenue;

LaCoste's grand redo on Fifth;

Mauboussin's brightening of a still fabulous new store at 714 Madison Avenue

Mulberry's work at 605 Madison

and the completely re-freshed (sorry, I just had to) Fresh at 872 Broadway.

And even more exciting for 2012 is the $400 million (you read that right) renovation of Macy's at Herald Square, and the experimental Limelight Marketplace, now being changed from a mall to a department store feel. Speaking of which:

Department Store Delights
Through renovations of their own, and a growing consumer need for true one-stop shopping, our city's iconic department stores have made a dramatic comeback. Recently redone and absolutely fabulous are:

Bloomingdale's at 1000 Third Avenue. Several years in the making and still ongoing, it will create a completely new store!


Barneys at 660 Madison Avenue -- with a new Men's Co-Op, new main floor and dining options, it's a complete and stunning redo!
Beauty Boutiques
For shoppers seeking an affordable luxury, or a completely new look, cosmetics stores have spent much of the year expanding around the city, even creating entire boulevards of beauty. Among my favorite newcomers:

Nars - 413 Bleecker Street

L'Occitane - 180 East 86th Street

Democratization of Fifth Avenue
Don't misunderstand: what we in the business call "Upper Fifth" -- 49th to 59th Streets -- remains a haven for luxury. But a number of more casual stores have created flagship stores a bit south on the world's most famous shopping street, establishing their brand and serving our many visitors and office workers. Now, there really is something for everyone on Fifth! Some of the biggest and the best are:

Uniqlo - 666 Fifth Avenue

Guess - 575 Fifth Avenue

Urban Outfitters - 521 Fifth Avenue

In-Store Boutiques
Maybe I love this concept so much because it reminds me of the classic days at Henri Bendel, when the late, great Geraldine Stutz turned its ground floor into a "Street of Shops" showcasing some of the world's great merchandise. That concept continues, most recently at Saks Fifth Avenue with new in-store boutiques for

Cartier - Pucci - Eres' French lingerie and swimwear at Barneys... And Tom Ford's classic at Bergdorf Goodman

It's been an exceptional year, giving us Faithful Shoppers some extraordinary new shops, and promising more to come. Next time, I'll focus on my wish list for 2012. In the meantime, finish those holiday lists and be sure to include a donation to a worthy cause.

Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping!