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South Florida Luxury Stores Seeing A “Shopping Shakeup”

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MIAMI (CBS4) – Three major South Florida fashion hubs are creating a bit of a “shopping shakeup,” all vying for the biggest names in luxury brands.

Shops and boutiques which made the Bal Harbour Shops ground zero for high end fashions are looking outside the open air plaza, instead setting up shop in the Aventura Mall and Miami’s Design District

Representatives for companies like Christian Dior and Hermes say their clientele and accessibility is changing, and they are adjusting.

Last summer, French-based luxury manufacturer Louis Vuitton moved out of Bal Harbour, after 30 years, relocating to Aventura Mall where they are more than doubling their former space.

Matthew Whitman Lazenby, the operating partner of the Bal Harbour Shops said their small scaled mall just couldn’t accommodate Louis Vuitton’s need for more space.

“They came to us and said our business here is phenomenal and we need room to grow and we worked with them, to the extent  that we could  to grow the store as best we could,” said Lazenby. “But a 20 thousand square foot store is 10 percent of our shopping center.”

In the Miami Design District, high end fashions stores are popping up all over, like Christian Louboutin and it’s high end shoes. Hermes and Cartier are also on their way to the neighborhood.

Louis Vuitton, whose representatives declined to comment, are also rumored to set up shop in the Design District -

All good news to Craig Robbins, whose company owns more than half of the district.

“Starting next year you’ll see some substantial changes and some great brands will be located here,” Robbins said. “I think Bal Harbour will always have a loyal clientele but offerings in Miami wlll change because certainly the Miami Design District will become at alternative location.”

But don’t count Bal Harbour shops out.

Last year the famed mall had its best year.  It’s sales total more than $2,000 per square foot, which is more than 5 times any other malls in the country. They will also welcome British designer Stella McCartney’s store next month.

“There’s a huge waiting list,” said Lazenby, “Tenants are clamoring to come in into the shopping center that want to come in but we don’t have space , so  when someone like Louis Vuitton leaves we can chop it up and  distribute it to folks who deserve to be here  and need to be here  but couldn’t find the space before.”

So whether you prefer the excitement of shopping in a mammoth mall, enjoy a leisurely stroll in upscale open air setting, or prefer the energy of a creative up and coming urban destination, when it comes to luxury brand shopping these days South Florida has more and more to choose from.

“Bal Harbour Shops is special. We think we are a location that can’t be duplicated”.  Said Lazenby “It’s got history, it’s got heritage it’s a location that can’t be reproduced.”

As for the Miami, Robbins says there are plans to build more than 2000 spaces and there will be increased security procedures, including ample surveillance cameras.

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