By  on November 5, 2010

Sean John will close its New York flagship at the end of this year, WWD has learned.

Employees at the store, located at 475 Fifth Avenue, were informed of the decision Thursday. The 3,500-square-foot flagship, which opened in 2004, is Sean John’s only freestanding retail unit.

A spokesman for Sean John confirmed the store will shutter on Dec. 30 and cited inadequate selling space for the closure. The company is looking for new retail locations in both New York and Los Angeles, he added.

Sean John has been embroiled in a lawsuit with the store’s landlord, an affiliate of Barclays Bank, since December. Sean John sued over scaffolding that has encased the building since August 2006, claiming it blocked the store’s windows and reduced crucial foot traffic, causing at least $2.5 million in lost sales and damages.

“Since the erection of the scaffolding, the Sean John store has experienced a steady decline in revenues that continues to the present day,” claimed the suit. “Revenues have been cut approximately in half at the flagship store.”

The original lease for the store, signed in 2003, went through May 2016. The rent started at $660,000 a year and stipulated regular increases up to $913,594 in the final phase, in addition to utilities and real estate taxes.

In May, Sean John inked an agreement with Macy’s that will have the brand’s sportswear carried exclusively in over 400 of the retailer’s doors, beginning this holiday. Last month, company founder Sean “Diddy” Combs traveled to London to present the line to potential European retail and license partners. The company is aiming to enter European markets as early as next fall.

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