Tuesday, January 28

Women’s boutique Francesca’s to open doors in Westwood Village

Francesca’s, a contemporary women’s clothing and accessories boutique, will open Saturday in Westwood Village, adding another retail store to the area.

The store, opening south of Weyburn Avenue on Westwood Boulevard, will offer hand-selected clothing and accessories, said Michelle Giacalone, the chain’s district manager. Because the store is a boutique, it will sell a limited amount of each product and frequently add new items.

Since the store’s debut in Houston in 1999, the boutique chain has opened more than 600 locations nationwide, five of which, including the Westwood Village store, are in Los Angeles, according to its website.

Jim Brooks, president of Topa Management, the company that owns the property rented by Francesca’s, said he thought the boutique would be the perfect addition to Westwood because there is nothing else like it in the Village.

“We are always trying to bring variety to the Village,” he said. “We want to achieve a mix of tenants that offers diverse options to our community.”

Brooks said he rented out space to stores such as Urban Outfitters, Paper Source and Francesca’s because he thinks the Village is lacking in retail.

“The Village is underserved when you think of uses other than food and coffee,” he said. “Our strategy was that Urban Outfitters would be a magnet for other retailers that are synergistic with it, and that is exactly what has happened.”

Andrew Thomas, executive director of the Westwood Village Improvement Association, also known as the BID, said stores like Francesca’s are interested in renting space in the Village because the area is cleaner, safer and more accessible than it was a few years ago.

“Improving any commercial district’s appearance, perception of safety and parking has a direct impact on the business in the area,” he said. “The economy is coming back, and Westwood is coming back.”

Thomas added both large chains and small boutiques have their place in the Village because he thinks a mix of the two will attract visitors to the area.

“We need anchors like Target, Urban Outfitters and Paper Source, which are tremendous draws, filled in with smaller distinct places that add character and makes our district special and authentic,” he said.

Steve Sann, chair of the Westwood Community Council, said five retail stores opened in Westwood Village over the past year, including Paper Source, Double Agent and The Little Branch. Urban Outfitters also recently expanded its storefront.

Some students said they are enthusiastic about Francesca’s opening in the Village because of the boutique’s affordable pricing and distinct clothing selection.

Mallory Asano, a third-year communication studies and English student, said there are not enough retail stores in the Village, so she thinks the store will be a good addition.

Emily Swanson, a second-year mathematics student, said she’s glad a Francesca’s boutique is opening so close to campus because she shops at one of its locations by her house.

“It’s a great place to buy cute gifts for people,” she said. “I think the boutique will be successful in Westwood because they offer unique pieces at a reasonable price.”

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News reporter

Sierra deSousa is currently a news reporter covering Westwood, transportation and Los Angeles. She has also covered the University of California.

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