Express Picks Flagship Locations on Two Coasts

The apparel retailer has leased 30,000 square feet in Manhattan's Times Square and a 16,000-square-foot store in San Francisco's Union Square.

Express Inc. is closing some stores and opening more these days, and the specialty retail apparel chain’s has picked marquee locations in Manhattan and San Francisco for its next stops. Express has entered into lease agreements that will open the doors of two flagship stores totaling 46,000 square feet between them. Scheduled to open next year, the new flagships will be behemoths compared to the typical Express footprint, which ranges in size from 6,500 to 7,500 square feet.

In New York City, Express signed a 15-year lease with SL Green Realty Corp. and joint venture partner Jeff Sutton for digs at 1552-1560 Broadway in Times Square. The 30,000-square-foot space will offer shoppers three levels of wares to peruse. “This new location will include prominent signage, which will allow us to showcase the Express brand to the approximately 40 million tourists who visit Times Square each year, the 1.9 million people who walk through Times Square each day and the 3,000 people who work there,” said Michael A. Weiss, president and CEO of Express, during the company’s first-quarter earnings conference call in May.

On the West Coast, the fashion retailer will set up shop in San Francisco in a 16,000-square-foot space at 301 Geary St., a building owned by Handlery Hotels Inc. The store will span two floors, in addition to space on the mezzanine level.

The announcement of the two new leases dovetails with Express’s expansion strategy, which calls for a combination of openings and closures and openings. In the first quarter, the company revealed four new stores in its new design format and closed the doors of seven shops. But there will be more debuts than exits. “For the year we remain on track to open 30 new stores including seven stores in Canada while remodeling 15 stores in our new store design and closing 12 existing locations,” Weiss said.