By  on October 22, 2009

Gant revealed a 2,600-square-foot addition to its Fifth Avenue flagship this week. The space was created by knocking down a wall on the top floor of the store and annexing space that was previously occupied by a neighboring beauty salon. The addition expands the store to a total of 9,870 square feet on three selling floors.

The new space is dedicated to Gant’s Rugger label, which targets a younger audience than the core Gant brand. Rugger has been the company’s fastest-growing business, and now accounts for about 40 to 50 percent of wholesale sales in the U.S.

“For the past two years, Gant Rugger has been our biggest area of growth, and it needed its own space and atmosphere in this store,” said Ari Hoffman, chief executive officer of Gant USA, of the expansion.

The Gant Rugger shop features an expansive denim wall as customers enter the space, as well as a prominent display of shirts, which is the bread-and-butter of the label. Woven shirts comprise about 50 percent of Rugger sales, said Hoffman.

“We’re known for shirts, but we also want people to think of us for denim,” he noted. Jeans in the collection retail from $175 to $275.

Designed by architect Annabelle Selldorf, who also spearheaded a redesign of the entire Gant flagship in 2007, the new space features oak floors and walls, exposed structural beams, aluminum ceilings and fixtures sheathed in linen. Antique glass display cases, industrial steel tables, vintage Barcelona chairs and light fixtures with softly glowing Edison bulbs help create a retro-tinged atmosphere.

With the addition of the Gant Rugger space, other areas of the flagship were also reimagined, with women’s moving into the lower level, the upper-tier Gant Collection taking over the top floor adjacent to Rugger, and the main line remaining on the ground floor. A new home section was added to the top floor for the first time, offering gifts, tabletop, pillows and blankets.

Gant USA will open another Gant Rugger shop at 353 Bleecker Street in February. Sweden-based Gant AB is a unit of Switzerland-based Maus Frères SA.

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