After five years of trying to make it on Rodeo Drive, consumer products giant Procter & Gamble is turning to an expert.
P & G;, maker of Crest, Tide and a host of other common household products, has been operating Giorgio of Beverly Hills ever since acquiring the store from Avon Products Inc. in 1995. Retail observers always considered the corporation's presence in one of the world's toniest shopping districts an oddity, which may be why the company has made a deal with global branding corporation BCBG Max Azria Group to manage the store and revamp its merchandising concept.
"Procter & Gamble in Beverly Hills was probably one of the worst fits in retail I'd ever heard of," said Bill Pearson, an analyst with Pasadena-based Retail Analysis and Planning. "It's an oxymoron. People from outside of the fashion business shouldn't sell fashion. The move's a good idea; P & G; can keep the fragrance and let Azria develop the caliber of merchandise Giorgio is expected to sell."
P & G; will continue to market the store's popular, eponymous fragrance in the white-and-yellow-striped box, which falls within the realm of its core business.
A spokeswoman for BCBG said the 6,900-square-foot store will be divided into separate outlets, one housing the "reinvented" Giorgio and another a BCBG boutique. How much square footage each store will get has yet to be finalized, although work is underway at the 327 N. Rodeo Drive space.
The refurbishing is being done by Azria's in-house design team and is slated for completion in December, the source said.
BCBG already has a 1,400-square-foot store at 315 N. Rodeo Drive. Once the new BCBG opens, that space will be converted to an Herv & #233; L & #233;ger boutique. Azria acquired Herv & #233; L & #233;ger in 1998 when it maintained only a single boutique in Paris. Since then, an outlet has been opened at L.A.'s Sunset Plaza, and three more in Las Vegas, New York and Milan are currently in the works. P & G; and Azria Group jointly market the Herv & #233; L & #233;ger fragrance.
L.A.-based BCBG Max Azria Group's diversified portfolio of companies includes BCBG Max Azria (women's and men's clothing/accessories/fragrances) Parallel (contemporary women's clothing), To the Max (women's clothing), and Herv & #233; L & #233;ger (women's designer-label clothing/accessories/fragrance).
BCBG, which stands for bon chance, bon genre (good style, good attitude) is a successful worldwide chain of freestanding boutiques and outlets within department stores. Azria recently named award-winning designer Rebecca Danenberg to oversee creation of the BCBG women's clothing line, bringing her out to L.A. from New York something of a coup for the local fashion community.
Giorgio of Beverly Hills was opened by Fred Hayman in the 1960s. Its heyday came during the '80s economic boom, when its signature fragrance, despite its limited distribution, went big time. Hayman sold the name and fragrance to Avon, which in turn sold it to P & G.;
The stuff of Judith Krantz novels and high-profile celebrity shopping sprees, in recent years the store had lost some of its cachet, seeking out the tourist dollar with merchandise boasting its logo.
The deal between P & G; and Azria has not yet been formally announced.
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