Year in Review: Houston Retail Goes Luxe in 2015
December 21, 2015
Year in Review: Houston Retail Goes Luxe in 2015
Houston Business Journal

High-end shopping in Houston has traditionally been associated with The Galleria — until recent years.



This year, Houston's retail scene saw an influx of luxury retail stores both inside and outside the Loop. And while many of Houston's business sectors have grim expectations for 2016, retail looks like it will remain strong.



One of the biggest stories in 2015 was the October opening of the highly anticipated River Oaks District.



The shopping center, located on Westheimer Road east of the Galleria and west of Highland Village, is home to some of the most high-end designers and venuesin the country and the world.



None other than the Parisian Cartier jewelers was the first retailer to open its doors at its 6,000-square-foot, limestone- and chandelier-clad store in the center.



Other standouts included Equinox gym, equipped with a spa and a Flow Juice Bar location, and Houston's first IPic Theater with fully reclinable seats, blankets, and full restaurant and bar service.



As of October, the River Oaks District was 85 percent leased, and 95 percent of those retailers were new to Houston. Other tenants include the likes of Roberto Cavalli, Hermes, Dolce & Gabbana and Tom Ford.



Meanwhile, several of Houston's long-standing malls got makeovers.



Baybrook Mall opened the first phase of its open air shopping center in November. What used to be a traditional suburban mall is now home to higher-end shops like Kendra Scott, Zara and Sur la Table, as well as outdoor entertainment, upscale restaurants and Star Cinema Grill's new flagship location.



Willowbrook Mall also began a major renovation project this summer. The mall plans to add stores like Michael Kors, Nordstrom Rack and White House Black Market. San Jancinto Mall in Baytown also was scooped up for redevelopment, and Brazos Mall in Lake Jackson was sold to three real estate companies in an off-market sale.



Aside from new, large shopping centers, famous shoe designer Christian Louboutin opened his first shop in Houston this year and longtime Houston jeweler Tenenbaum & Co. moved inside the Loop.



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