By  on July 28, 2008

Moncler is expanding in chic ski resorts.

The high-end outerwear brand last week opened an 864-square-foot store in Chamonix, the picturesque ski town in the French Alps, and inaugurated a bigger unit of 756 square feet in Courmayeur, Italy, close to its former smaller store.

French architect studio Gilles & Boissier developed the interiors for both stores, applying the same philosophy that characterizes Moncler shops in other mountain resorts such as Saint Moritz and Cortina d’Ampezzo.

The starting point is minimal chic interiors reminiscent of a luxe “haute montagne” lodge with dark stone floors, wooden ceilings, wood-paneled walls and horizontal staves. A cozy alpine feeling is conveyed via lush fur throws tossed over tables, ornate wooden chairs and stylized fireplaces.

Moncler’s investment for the new stores totaled 600,000 euros, or $951,000 at current exchange rates.

Sales forecasts were unavailable. Last year, Moncler focused its retail energies on France and Switzerland, with an investment of 1.2 million euros, or $1.9 million, to open in Paris, Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland, and Megève, France. The Paris store hit its annual sales forecast of $4.4 million in only three months. Moncler now counts seven directly operated stores.

On tap for the fall is Moncler’s first flagship in Milan, followed by ribbon cuttings in Hong Kong, Aspen, Colo., and Gstaad in Switzerland.

Since January, Giambattista Valli designs the top-of-the-line Moncler Gamme Rouge line, succeeding Alessandra Facchinetti who went to Valentino.

Moncler, which generates annual sales of over $200 million, was founded in 1952 in Grenoble, France, where the brand’s factory is located. �

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