By  on November 16, 2005

PARIS — Continuing his march on Europe, Tommy Hilfiger has opened a 3,900-square-foot boutique in Zurich.

The three-level unit — at 24 Bahnhofstrasse, with neighbors Prada, Christian Dior and Gucci — was recently the site of an in-store cocktail for local VIPs and an after party featuring live musicians.

"Our main objective in Switzerland is to increase brand awareness and clearly establish the image of Tommy Hilfiger in the market," said Daniel Grieder, chief operating officer at Tommy Hilfiger Europe B.V. "[Zurich] is the most fashion-forward city in Switzerland."

He declined to give first-year sales projections, but said the unit had exceeded plan since opening Nov. 9. Among bestsellers for women were a suede poncho for $305, a corduroy pantsuit for $144 and a cableknit sweater for $137. Dollar figures are converted from Swiss francs at current exchange.

The boutique opened with holiday collections, with men's wear and men's furnishings and fragrances on the main floor, children's products on the second, and women's wear and accessories on the top floor.

Like other Hilfiger units, the Zurich store boasts neoclassical architecture and oak flooring offset with contemporary details and "focus walls" that change each season.

Hilfiger already has about 125 wholesale accounts in Switzerland, but the Zurich boutique is consistent with the company's retail push and follows a freestanding Hilfiger Denim unit that opened last February.

Grieder said Hilfiger Europe, which has sales of about $532 million, plans to open about 40 more stores in 2006, including "anchor" stores, such as the new Zurich unit, in capital cities. Hilfiger, in France last month for the Swarovski Fashion Rocks event, disclosed that he was scouting for a location in Paris in the Faubourg Saint-Honoré environs.

At the end of its fiscal year on March 31, the company had more than 100 freestanding stores in Europe, including locations in Milan, London, Amsterdam, Madrid, Berlin, Brussels, Dublin, Stockholm, Istanbul and Athens. Next month, Hilfiger plans to open a freestanding unit in Vienna.

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