By  on September 19, 2005

NEW YORK — The Tod's U.S. flagship on Madison Avenue here has tripled in size in a New York minute, marking a step in the company's growth plans, including moving into additional categories.

Under renovation since June, the new 6,000-square-foot emporium had a soft opening on Thursday. In addition to men's and women's shoes and handbags, for which the 75-year-old Milan-based company is known, the store will be the first in the U.S. to spotlight additional products bowing this fall. They include jewelry, hats, scarves, belts, gloves, outerwear and eventually ready-to-wear designed by Derek Lam, which will make its debut in New York and at other select Tod's stores in January.

"This is our flagship in the U.S., which all other American stores are based," said Claudio Castiglioni, chief executive officer of Tod's. "When people walk into a Tod's boutique, they see and expect the best craftsmanship and quality. They know if they like something, they're going to have it for a long time. We don't design for here today, gone tomorrow."

The store, located at the corner of 60th Street and Madison Avenue after the company acquired the space next door in April, represents the Tod's aesthetic.

Vachetta leather floor-to-ceiling screens, including chrome- and wood-inlaid niches within to showcase the brand's pebble-soled driving shoes and leather bags, divide the room. Glass and chrome display cases hold items such as bracelets and makeup accessories. Small leather goods, like journals and iPod cases, as well as other jewelry, are placed up front, while the men's and women's accessories sections flank the outerwear area at the center of the unit.

The Manhattan store also will offer exclusive items such as the Happy clutch, with crystal details, and a limited-edition loafer, retailing for $1,450 and $895, respectively.

Tod's has 105 directly owned and operated stores worldwide, including nine in the U.S. It is opening stores in Boston as well as in Malaysia; Taipei, Taiwan; Seoul; Barcelona; Hamburg, Germany; Vienna; Luxembourg, and Sydney beginning this month.

Tod's SpA, which owns Tod's, Hogan and Roger Vivier, posted a 21.8 percent jump in first-half revenue in July, with sales growth slowing in the second quarter. Its directly operated store network rose 17.1 percent to 121.4 million euros, or $99.4 million at current exchange. The company does not report the Tod's brand figures separately."Tod's customers are those who search for refined and understated luxury," said Diego Della Valle, chairman and ceo of Tod's SpA. "Our customers are both famous and nonfamous, but they all come to our company for the same thing — absolute luxury."

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