By  on June 6, 2007

Gants is staking a claim in Madrid.

With its Spanish partner, Gant Lifestyle España, the sportswear company is transforming a 2,000-square-foot, four-floor villa into its first flagship in the Spanish capital, located on Jorge Juan in the middle of Salamanca.

"The difference between our Madrid store and other Gant stores is that this is the first Gant store to house all of our product ranges, within their own departments within one store. Each area has it's own identity," said Ari Hoffman, Gant's U.S. president and chief executive officer. "And it's the first time Gant has adopted a space for a retail location that combines local aesthetics with Gant branding environments."

For the first time, the company is presenting its women's, men's and kids' collections in separate environments, based on three collection concepts: GNH, Elliot Gant and Rugger. To help distinguish each line with themed environments, different fixtures, furniture and flooring are being used in different parts of the freestanding building.

Formerly a restaurant, the 19th-century structure was gutted completely, while the facade was left unchanged — resulting in a mix of Spanish colonial and American East Coast styles.

Since 1996, Gant Lifestyle España has been the brand's distributor in Spain. Including the new flagship, there are six Gant stores there, plus 100 Gant shops-in-shops in El Corte Ingles department stores.

"For many years, we have enjoyed a very substantial business throughout Spain," said Hoffman. "Yet to fully capture the potential of this market, it became obvious that we needed to forge a deeper inroad in such a successful market."

Known primarily for its preppy men's wear, Gant relaunched its women's line in the U.S. in 2005 after selling it for years abroad. The company did about $850 million in global sales in 2005, and has more than 350 proprietary stores worldwide.

In addition to Madrid, Gant has a flagship in Lisbon that opened in 2003, and it plans to open another in China this August, as well as a new global flagship concept at 645 Fifth Avenue in New York, to be unveiled during New York Fashion Week this September. The company plans to establish flagships in most major countries in the next few years.

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