NEW YORK — The lavish Asprey flagship on Fifth Avenue will soon lower its flag.

The venerable English brand opened with great flair in December 2003 and with too much space to justify its limited traffic. Now WWD has learned that A&G Group, Asprey’s parent, plans to close the store before September.

Located in a prime spot at 723 Fifth Avenue in the Trump Tower between 56th and 57th Streets, the Asprey flagship has three floors and 20,000 square feet.

Officials at The Trump Organization declined comment Thursday.

An A&G Group spokeswoman in London, responding to the report about the flagship closing, said: “As part of this process, we are considering lots of options.” She declined further comment.

As WWD reported earlier this week, A&G is said to be in talks about a possible sale of its Asprey and Garrard brands, possibly to two different investors. It has been seeking for the last few months to raise an additional $50 million to fund Asprey’s expansion.

Sources said Asprey was paying $1 million a month in rent on the Fifth Avenue store and had 15 years left on the lease. It is said to have agreed to pay $25 million in cash to break the lease and move out before September.

Sources also said Asprey once did three times as much volume on a store that was one-third the size in a different spot inside Trump Tower.

It’s possible that Trump decides to subdivide the space for more than one tenant.

Last summer, Lawrence Stroll, co-chairman of A&G Group with Silas Chou, said the Asprey store in London was doing well, but admitted the one in New York was having a harder time.

The Asprey store has a range of products, from diamond jewelry, silver, china, clocks, rare books and glassware to ready-to-wear, men’s tailored clothing, cuff links and other furnishings.

“The footprint was just too ambitious,” observed Isaac Lagnado, president of consulting firm tactical.org. “It cost them a ton of money and was not very densely merchandised, compared to Louis Vuitton or Tiffany. It never had the ‘must-have’ items.”

This story first appeared in the March 17, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Lagnado did characterize the brand’s offering as “exceptional in quality and very expensive.” But he also said that, “fundamentally, it’s not a very well-known brand. They should have devoted a much bigger budget for advertising and promotion to create a presence.” He also suggested that developing a wholesale strategy might have helped.

The store features luxurious design details, from curved glass windows to fine mahogany and bronze display fixtures and limestone floors, reminiscent of the original headquarters at 167 Old Bond Street in London.

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