Ugg Australia unveiled its largest U.S. freestanding store in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood this month, with plans to expand its retail presence domestically and abroad.
"We really have a strong business in Chicago and the upper Midwest," said Connie Rishwain, Ugg's president, who was in town Thursday to christen the 3,500-square-foot store at 909 North Rush Street, one block west of Michigan Avenue. "Out of anywhere in the country, we sell the biggest cross section of our line here. Consumers here really get the brand."
The store, modeled after its first slightly smaller location in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood, strives to achieve the same warmth and comfort as its ubiquitous sheepskin boots, with leather sofas, leather and suede ottomans, sheepskin rugs and wood and stone floors.
The location features children's footwear and the entire collection of women's and men's footwear and outerwear as well as gloves, hats and handbags, with footwear prices ranging from $60 women's slippers to $350 for stacked-heel leather boots. Women's outerwear ranges from a $245 down vest to a $2,395 full-length shearling hooded coat, and handbags include sheepskin and leather wristlets, clutches, midsize totes, hobos and other styles, averaging $250. The company declined to give a first-year sales projection.
Ugg plans to launch a Montreal store in November and is considering sites in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
"We're not rushing to do a lot of stores at once," Rishwain said, noting that the brand is focusing more on establishing itself abroad, possibly in London or Paris.
"We have more penetration here," she said. "People know they can go to Nordstrom and find the brand. We're still looking to overseas to introduce the consumer to the brand."
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