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Gucci bags Tampa store

By MARK ALBRIGHT
Published May 22, 2003

Gucci, the international design house, has signed a lease to open a 4,000-square-foot store at International Plaza in Tampa.

The full-line store selling handbags, apparel and footware will take the space being vacated by BCBG, another upscale apparel chain that is closing some of its stores.

Founded by an Italian family, Gucci is now French-controlled. The label, once known for expensive handbags covered in interlocking "Gs," stagnated and fell on hard times in the 1980s. It was revived as a luxury brand by Tom Ford, a Texas-born designer. He has said his style is "a little bit flashy" and "a little bit tacky."

Although International Plaza will have the first Gucci store in the Tampa Bay area, Saks Fifth Avenue at nearby WestShore Plaza already has a 200-square-foot boutique devoted to handbags and small leather goods. Gucci operates full-line stores in Orlando and South Florida.

Taubman Centers Inc., which operates International Plaza, also signed a deal for Bar Louie, a casual dining restaurant with five locations in Chicago. The restaurant will move into empty space in Bay Street, the mall's outdoor restaurant district.

Both of the mall's new tenants will open in the fall, according to Taubman.

- Information from Times wires was used in this report.

[Last modified May 22, 2003, 01:30:54]

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