Georg Jensen to build smaller stores at more locations in the U.S.

Georg Jensen will redesign its stores, making them smaller and with an increased focus on providing goods manufactured exclusively from the renowned Danish silversmith, The New York Times reports.

The first of the new 1,100-square-foot to 2,500-square-foot stores, with a tighter focus on goods manufactured by Jensen, are to open later this year in SoHo in Manhattan and in Greenwich, Conn, The Times reports. Moves from existing stores to smaller spaces nearby are planned for Short Hills, N.J., and the flagship store on Madison Avenue.

The company, which has more than 100 stores in 13 countries, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

In the United States, where there are only four Jensen shops, the company is defining its new store concept. The Jensen stores are dropping china, glass and giftware made by others and will refocus its product line on jewelry, silver tableware, and watches.

The creation of a signature design for all Jensen stores, based on a prototype in Denmark, will lead to more outlets and a consistent look, company officials told the Times. The elimination of merchandise other than its own will require less store space.

Jensen shops that have operated in Manhattan, Chicago, Short Hills, and Hawaii for five to more than 20 years will be moved to smaller quarters and renovated to conform as much as possible to the interior and exterior of the Copenhagen model.

New sites have been leased at 160 Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich, and at 125 Wooster Street in SoHo. Jensen officials told the Times they will be completed by June or July at a combined cost around $1 million.

Construction at the Short Hills Mall, scheduled to start within two weeks for an April opening, involves moving to an 1,100-square-foot space down the corridor from the current larger store, and the Madison Avenue shop will move in the fall to a smaller space next door, the Times reports. The company said it needs to find a new location for its Chicago store on Michigan Ave., saying its current store inside the Drake Hotel is too big.

The company told the Times that it is in negotiations Ala Moana outdoor mall in Honolulu for a second store and that it has tententively signed a lease for the Westchester mall in White Plains, N.Y., where a space won’t be available until 2005.

The company is also prospecting for sites in Las Vegas, Florida, and in California at Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, and the Costa Mesa mall in Orange County, the Times reports.

Andrew Tuller, the architect for the Greenwich and SoHo projects, reportedly told the Times that the look of the stores would be “essentially black and white,” with walls of black slate tiles, display cases of white lacquer and black leather, floors of beige limestone and halogen lighting, the design is intended “to make the merchandise shine.”

The products to be sold are mainly inventive functional designs in silver and lower-priced stainless steel by top Scandinavian artists, the Times reports. A selection of Jensen’s vintage designs of tableware and jewelry, still being manufactured by the company, will be available.