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NEW YORK — Adidas opens its first Originals store in the U.S. at 136 Wooster St. here today and judging from the Adidas-clad youths lurking outside it Thursday, the company’s espousal of its classic retro looks is bound to be a winner.
This story first appeared in the August 30, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Originals division focuses on the $6 billion sporting goods company’s reinterpreted and reissued classic products.
The store’s garage-like setting spans 2,700 square-feet and features lacquered concrete floors, gray walls and spare fixtures giving the space a definitively industrial feel. In an effort to create the sort of flea market environment typical vintage shoppers would find compelling, the company sought to keep the retail clime low-key and shoppable.
“We wanted it to be appealing to consumers who like to dig, shop and discover. We call our approach ‘assisted discovery.’ We didn’t want to market it too loudly,” said Ken Thornby, director of Originals.
This unassuming strategy manifests itself in rolling clothing racks, aqua plexiglass storage units and low-lying table displays which lure shoppers into wandering throughout the store foraging through its entire array of products. The merchandise features old favorites like retro sneakers, tracksuits, and tennis bags, plus a women’s line that includes skirts, knit sweaters and slightly flared slacks.
Retail prices range from $25 for T-shirts, $160 for tracksuits, $90 for sweaters and $55 to $120 for sneakers.
Despite the fact that retro and vintage finds are having a moment, the company believes the Originals concept has longevity.
“We like our positioning in the sense that we have 80 years of catalogs and products to draw from which allow us to be successful and meaningful in the longterm,” said Tim Joyce, executive vice president for Adidas America.
“This industry ebbs and flows. Today classics are very in; we think we’ll capitalize on that, but we also think we have a leg to stand on because of the strength of our product and how we’ll be able to reinterpret things on an ongoing basis.”
The company opened the first two Originals stores last year in Tokyo and Berlin and will open another in September in Osaka. The company declined to forecast its first-year store sales.