By  on July 10, 2007

For brands at the designer level, opening freestanding stores is becoming an increasingly important tool for continued growth, making this a trend to watch over the next few months. Among the brands looking to grow their store network are Calvin Klein, Michael Kors and Giorgio Armani. While Michael Kors continues to expand his network of accessories-based stores, Calvin Klein Inc. last month announced a strategy to open 10,000-square-foot megastores for its better-priced white label in malls across America. Ten such stores will open over the next two years, and, based on their success, white label could evolve into a 100-door chain, company executives said. Meanwhile, Giorgio Armani plans to make a big splash at retail, renovating existing stores and shops-in-shops in the U.S. He also plans to open a 47,000-square-foot unit on Fifth Avenue next year, which will be an Armani world of sorts, offering his range of labels, from Giorgio Armani, to Emporio Armani, Armani Jeans and Armani Casa.

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