By  on January 8, 2007

LONDON — Hugh Hefner's newest Playboy store is out to woo London.

The company will open a 2,400-square-foot concept store next spring on Oxford Street, one of the city's main shopping thoroughfares. The boutique will carry Playboy lingerie, denim, sportswear, swimwear, cosmetics, jewelry and accessories.

"London was a fairly easy decision for our next store," said Sarah Haney, vice president of licensing at Playboy. "Of our $230 million in retail sales last year, half of those sales were in the U.K. specifically."

The shop here will be the company's eighth, and follows openings last year in Melbourne, Australia, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A store in Auckland, New Zealand, is scheduled to open this spring.

Aaron Duncan, creative director of Playboy Enterprises, said the company chose Oxford Street, which also has Topshop, H&M and La Senza outlets, partly because of the constant volume of retail traffic.

"It's important to us that our stores make money. We don't want Playboy to be tucked away in a little corner of the city," said Duncan. The store will be decorated in hues ranging from deep purple to light grays. "A lot of international brands are moving onto the street. It's great exposure."

Fixtures will be modeled around the brand's signature rabbit head silhouette, and murals of images from Playboy's archives will adorn the walls.

The store, on two floors, will also carry Playboy's higher-end Icons line of cocktail dresses. The collection, with retail prices ranging from about $500 to $1,000, is now only sold at Playboy's concept store in Melbourne and its Las Vegas boutique. Prices at the London store will start at about $50 for a T-shirt.

The unit here will be owned and operated by Playboy's retail partner, Global Designer Brands, also a partner in the Melbourne outlet that opened last year. Duncan said the London space will be the brand's first to include a lounge on the upper floor where shoppers can play Playboy video games and watch archive footage on plasma screens.

A selection of Playboy's product range is sold in high-end stores such as Selfridges and Harvey Nichols in the U.K., but Duncan said the new boutique will give customers a more complete brand experience."It's going to be the best of the best under one roof," said Duncan. "We want people to come into the store and say, ‘Wow. I didn't know Playboy did this or that.' We want to let people know that it's a true contemporary fashion brand."

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