By  on September 28, 2009

NEW YORK — Gant has signed a lease for a 700-square-foot space on Bleecker Street in the West Village here. The store will be dedicated exclusively to the brand’s Rugger men’s label, which is targeted toward a younger, more style-conscious consumer than the core Gant brand. The unit will be Gant’s first stand-alone Rugger store when it opens in late January or early February.

“Our target audience for Rugger is young and hip, and the West Village is the perfect place for this store,” said Ari Hoffman, chief executive officer of Gant USA, a division of Sweden-based Gant AB.

Located at 353 Bleecker Street, the store was previously occupied by Gerry’s, a men’s specialty retailer. Its adjacent neighbors include Black Fleece and Sunglass Hut.

The store’s interior design will feature an “industrial factory” look, with steel benches and cast-iron fixtures, said Hoffman. The scheme will be overseen by Rugger designer Christopher Bastin and an outside Swedish architecture firm.

The new lease comes as Gant celebrates its 60th anniversary this month with a series of marketing initiatives. Beginning today, Gant has partnered exclusively with Barneys New York to sell six special edition men’s shirts — one for each decade of its history — that were designed using archival Gant details, but in updated fabrics. (Gant was founded in New Haven in 1949 as a shirtmaker. Ownership of the brand moved to a Swedish company in 1999, which last year was acquired by Switzerland-based Maus Frères SA.)

The shirts are available in Barneys stores in New York, Chicago and Beverly Hills for $135, except for a cashmere style for $235 and a Sea Island version for $295. Barneys is devoting a window to Gant’s anniversary in its Madison Avenue flagship, and Gant has planned in-store events with Details magazine for the coming months.

Four women’s styles of special edition anniversary shirts also will be sold exclusively at Gant’s Fifth Avenue flagship.

Next month, Gant will unveil a renovation of that flagship, which will incorporate an additional 2,600 square feet of space it took over from a beauty salon behind the store. The reorganized space will encompass about 9,870 square feet and feature the core Gant men’s collection on the main floor; the top floor will offer Rugger, the top-tier Gant Collection label, Gant Sport and a home line, and a lower level will feature women’s collections.

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