By  on August 12, 2005

LOS ANGELES — Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. is tapping deeper into the accessories craze.

The company said Thursday that it would launch a third retail brand, One Thousand Steps, a multibrand shoe and accessories concept aimed at 18- to 24-year-olds.

The new mall-based brand will bow in the first half of 2006 at eight to 10 locations across the country, and will focus primarily on footwear, with some accessories. The company declined to give percentages for each category, but said the stores would average about 2,500 square feet.

The company declined to give sales figures, but said the goal was to eventually have 600 to 800 locations. And the first location will be in Southern California, said PacSun division president Tom Kennedy.

The Anaheim, Calif., retailer operates two retail concepts: its surf- and skate-inspired PacSun division, and the D.e.m.o. division, reflecting the influence of hip-hop culture. There are 780 PacSun stores, 91 PacSun outlet stores and 183 D.e.m.o. stores, located in the 50 states and Puerto Rico.

The company's announcement of the new brand comes on the heels of its debut last month of a new PacSun store prototype, at the Tyler Galleria in Riverside, Calif., which will be rolling out to 20 stores by the end of the year, at sizes ranging from 4,000 to 8,000 square feet.

"Managing an assortment of brands is our skill set here, and it's really an underserved market, and we think we can add value in this domain and be very successful," said chief executive officer Seth Johnson.

PacSun's consumer is between 14 and 17 years old and lives in sneakers, said Kennedy, but the new concept will address the needs of a more fashion-conscious consumer.

"It's the fashion-forward, denim-based consumer," said Kennedy. "It's very much a California sensibility, but much less skate- and surf-focused. It's about, what is someone who buys a pair of Seven [jeans] going to wear on their feet?"

Kennedy said the company would start with about 10 to 12 vendors, including Steve Madden and Kenneth Cole.

Stepping deeper into footwear and accessories is not such a big leap for the company. It already does big business in the two categories, which together account for 37 percent of the PacSun division's sales. The accessories and shoe categories were increased by 40 percent each at the recently bowed 9,000-square-foot prototype.

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