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Moods of Norway Adding to Store Count in U.S.

The quirky Norwegian brand will relocate its four-year-old unit on Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles and open a store in the Mall of America.

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Men'sWeek issue 05/23/2013

Moods of Norway is continuing its expansion in the U.S.

This story first appeared in the May 23, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The quirky Norwegian brand founded by Stefan Dahlkvist, Simen Staalnacke and Peder Børresen, will relocate its four-year-old unit on Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles this spring and open a store in the Mall of America in September. George Santacroce, chief executive officer for the U.S. market, said the Los Angeles unit will move to a 2,000-square-foot location on Melrose Avenue, next door to G-Star and up the street from Fred Segal. “Many of the trendy brands have left Robertson,” he said, “and it’s predominantly a women’s street now. So we are repositioning ourselves to move where our customer shops.” Dahlkvist, who oversees the U.S. operation from Los Angeles, said: “It’s better cotenancy and a better location.”

That will be followed by the opening of a 2,000-square-foot location at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, a city with a large Norwegian population that is familiar with the brand, which has sales volume of $60 million and 92 percent brand recognition in its home country. It operates 18 stores around the world — 16 in Norway and the two U.S. units.

“Malls are such a big part of America,” said Staalnacke of Moods’ first move into a mall setting in the U.S.

Moods opened a unit on Greene Street in New York’s SoHo neighborhood last September and Santacroce said that unit was recently renovated. “It really looks like a Moods store now,” he said, adding that the company ran to Home Depot and bought some scaffolding that it painted bright colors just to get the store open in a month last fall. “There’s only so much you can do with scaffolding, so we re-merchandised.”

He said that store’s performance started off strongly, but business fell off after Hurricane Sandy. “But it’s OK again now,” he said.

The founders visited New York last week to celebrate Norwegian National Day at its SoHo unit and to greet customers with traditional Norwegian waffles. Staalnacke said the plan for the U.S. market is to increase its wholesale penetration — the brand is carried in about 50 boutiques here and its shoes are in Nordstrom — and to increase e-commerce sales. The most popular items in the U.S. are men’s suits and woven shirts, he added. “Americans are receptive to it,” said Borresen.

In a move to raise its visibility in the U.S., Moods has hired Amy Liu, a 16-year veteran of fashion and publishing, as its director of marketing in the U.S. Liu has worked with BCBG Max Azria, Calvin Klein and Citizens of Humanity, and was fashion editor for Interview magazine.

The company will celebrate its 10th anniversary this August.