By  on February 17, 2010

Sperry Top-Sider, which has expanded beyond its roots in footwear into apparel and accessories, plans its first retail rollout to help mark the brand’s 75th anniversary.

Massachusetts-based Sperry Top-Sider will open its first five retail stores this spring as it moves to highlight its offerings beyond boat shoes. Three units, ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 square feet, will launch in Tampa, Orlando and Boca Raton, Fla., in the coming weeks, followed by Dallas and Kansas City next month.

President Craig Reingold said the impetus to open units resulted from strong response to several in-store shops the company operates in department and marine specialty stores. “This was proof to us that the consumer really understands the product,” he said.

The stores will be 85 percent footwear and 15 percent apparel, and will feature the complete assortment for men, women and children. “They will offer the full scope of what we stand for as a brand,” Reingold said. In apparel, the brand offers T-shirts, polos, casual pants, shorts and other sportswear items.

The stores are designed to play into the company’s links to the sea. They are being designed to replicate a working boathouse and will include wide plank porcelain tile that replicates the painted and weathered floors found in seaside cottages along the Eastern seaboard. They will also include nautical props and lighting fixtures.

Reingold said the company expects to expand the assortment of apparel and accessories in the stores by the end of this year and into 2011. “We have a lot of demand for what we call ‘above-the-foot’ product,” he said, noting that over the past 24 months, the company has worked to evolve the business into a lifestyle brand.

Sperry Top-Sider expects to add two more stores in locations to be disclosed in the second half and probably more later. “We think this concept has a lot of upside potential,” Reingold said, adding he expects to expand internationally, as well.

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