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Mango Forging Ahead With Expansion in U.S.

“In Chinese,” said Rafael Ayash, Mango's country director for the U.S., “recession means opportunity.”

Mango, the fast-fashion chain from Barcelona, is forging ahead with its expansion in the U.S. despite the recession.

“In Chinese,” said Rafael Ayash, country director for the U.S., “recession means opportunity.”

On Thursday, the company hosted a launch presentation for Adam, a new capsule collection of men’s and women’s wear by designer Adam Lippes, at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York.

The Spanish retailer entered the U.S. in 2006 and now operates 21 stores here. Around the world, there are over 1,200 Mango stores in 92 countries. So far, units are operating in Costa Mesa, Calif.; Chicago; Dallas; Los Angeles; McLean, Va.; Orlando; San Francisco, and Santa Monica. In November 2007, the company opened a flagship in SoHo at 561 Broadway. The stores are called MNG by Mango for trademark reasons in the U.S. market.

Ayash said two additional units are planned for New York City later this year. Although he would not disclose the locations, he said one is slated to open in August and the second in September.

Ayash admitted Mango hasn’t been immune to the recession in the U.S. “If I told you we didn’t go down [in sales], I’d be lying,” he said. “But we’re new here and our positioning and market share are the main things for us.”

Although women’s wear remains the company’s primary driver, men’s is also carving out a niche at the company’s stores around the world. The retailer began offering men’s wear in a small way in 2007. In Spain and Turkey, Mango operates men’s-only stores under the HE by Mango moniker (HE is an acronym for the Latin phrase Homini Emerito). “They’ve really been successful,” Ayash said, adding the company is converting some smaller stores in Spain to men’s units.

There are no plans to open men’s-only stores in the U.S., he said, but he revealed one of the New York units will be large enough to house a men’s-only concept within it. “We’re doing windows, graphics — we’re really launching it as a brand,” he said.

Another big push for the company is the Adam Lippes collection, Ayash said. Originally slated for only two seasons, Lippes said the association has been extended another year. “It’s been an incredible collaboration,” he said. “They called me and I went to see them in Barcelona and I was amazed. There’s not one derivative dress in the line — not one designer copy. They wanted a fresh take on American sportswear and they gave me free rein.”

Adam for Mango and Adam for HE, the names of the women’s and men’s lines, respectively, each boast about 20 items, and will be offered in “key stores” in the U.S. as well as 650 stores around the world beginning on Sunday, Lippes said.

Mango also has collaborations with celebrities including Milla Jovovich, Elizabeth Hurley and Penélope and Mónica Cruz.