By  on February 4, 2010

HONG KONG — Premium denim brand Seven For All Mankind is expanding its branded stores in Asia in an effort to counter the effects of weakened economic conditions in the U.S.

“We doubled our business in the [Asia-Pacific] region last year and expect to see very high double-digit growth in 2010,” said company president Topher Gaylord, who was in the region last week to attend a launch party for the brand’s 1,600-square-foot flagship in the upscale Chaoyang District of Beijing.

Asia-Pacific is the Los Angeles-based brand’s fastest-growing region, with 29 stores at the end of last year, 10 of which are in Greater China and the rest in markets such as South Korea, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and the Philippines. At the end of 2009, the label had 62 freestanding stores in 18 cities worldwide.

As department and specialty stores in the U.S. cope with lower consumer spending, the VF Corp.-owned brand this year will almost double to 117 the number of branded stores worldwide, adding more than 10 units in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan alone. The brand will also venture into new countries, including Australia.

Working with local partner Fairton International Group in the Greater China region, Seven For All Mankind will focus on developing mall concessions and stand-alone stores.

Gaylord said signature stores are key in China because “consumers there like a complete branded experience.”

Although he expects consolidation of brands and retailers due to saturation in the high-end denim space, Gaylord said Seven For All Mankind has an edge because it is one of a handful of U.S.-based denim labels to successfully make the transition to a lifestyle player. As much as 27 percent of the business in company-owned stores now comes from nondenim sales, including outerwear, sportswear, footwear and accessories.

“We are not just a denim company making denim,” Gaylord said. “We provide consumers with an aspirational experience and exceptional quality in product. The product diversification enables consumers to share in the depth and breadth of the brand.”

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