By  on August 20, 2007

LOS ANGELES — Premium denim giant True Religion Apparel’s push into direct retail will include a branded store in San Francisco’s Union Square shopping district, expected to open in late March of next year.

Located in the Westfield San Francisco Centre, the planned 1,146-square-foot store will be the 19th branded boutique for the Vernon, Calif.–based company, which is aiming to grow its direct retail segment to 45 percent of its overall business. “When you show your brand to the marketplace [retailers], they pick and choose one or two styles, and a T-shirt if they’re in the mood. [With branded stores], we’re able to portray the entire brand image,” said True Religion CEO Jeffrey Lubell.

Since it launched its first branded store in Manhattan Beach, Calif., in 2005, the company has expanded to 10 U.S. doors in California, New York, Illinois, Texas and Florida. Five additional doors are expected to open by year’s end: two in Las Vegas and one each in Dallas, Atlanta and Corte Madera, Calif. A Las Vegas outlet is also planned for early 2008.

The San Francisco store will be located near Banana Republic, Metropark, Lucky Brand Jeans and Hollister in the San Francisco Centre. Similar to other True Religion store interiors, the space will feature a signature jeans bar, Asian-inspired accents, and wood-paneled walls and floors. “We’re using stone and natural product, nothing artificial,” Lubell said. “I don’t use Formica.”

The product mix will be approximately 60 percent premium denim and 40 percent knitwear-oriented sportswear.

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