By  on August 7, 2008

NEW YORK — Seven For All Mankind will open the doors of its first flagship here today with the aim of exposing its full collection of products to the city’s burgeoning influx of European tourists.

The premium denim label, which was acquired by VF Corp. in July 2007, revealed plans to open the 3,000-square-foot store in SoHo in late March. Seven takes over a space previously occupied by home and garden specialist Smith & Hawken at 394 West Broadway. The store will be Seven’s fourth full-price unit — joining stores in Los Angeles, Dallas and Malibu, Calif. — and will also be its largest.

Aaron Battista, vice president of retail, believes the building’s design and location position the brand in an area where art and commerce intersect. As such, the store will also include gallery space featuring a rotation of art projects. The first will be photographer Tim Mantoani’s “Behind Photographs” exhibit, consisting of 20-by-24-inch Polaroids of the “living legends” of photography.

“We really pinpointed and wanted to be there because the brand has such a relationship to art and architecture,” said Battista. “We wanted it to be in a downtown environment.”

Associating the brand with iconic architecture has been a focus since Seven began print advertising last fall. The first print ads featured models Carolyn Murphy and Tyson Ballou and were shot at the penthouse of the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood and Los Angeles’ Stahl House. Its current campaign features architect Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, Conn., as a backdrop.

While the SoHo location will share a similar interior design aesthetic to Seven’s Robertson Avenue store in Los Angeles, Battista said efforts have been made to emphasize existing characteristics of the space, including a staircase and plank flooring. White marble and polished chrome are used to give the store a lighter feel than the darker tones used in Los Angeles.

With the weak dollar attracting a flood of European tourists to New York, Battista is aware of the opportunity the SoHo store will have to build consumer awareness of Seven’s other products beyond its core denim offerings. The store’s assortment will initially be 70 percent denim and 30 percent sportswear, including outerwear and knits. That ratio is expected to become more balanced as Seven continues to expand into new product categories.

“That’s what we’re really excited about, we know our own backyard,” he said, referring to the West Coast market. “We’ve never been able to tell the brand’s whole story in a retail environment here. From a global standpoint, New York hits everyone.”

Seven is looking to open 100 stores over the next five years. Battista said nine units are slated to open this year, followed by 20 in 2009. The next store here will open in the Flatiron District, and the hunt for space on both the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side is under way.

“We’re looking at only going into A locations and high-street areas,” said Battista. “It’s easier now that we have some stores under our belt.”

Battista would not disclose first-year sales projections. VF’s contemporary brands segment, home to the Seven and Lucy Activewear brands, reported revenues of $142.3 million in 2007, driven primarily by Seven. The two brands were credited with fueling revenues in the first half of 2008, as well.

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