NEW YORK — Ferré has closed its Madison Avenue flagship.

This story first appeared in the July 31, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Michela Piva, chief executive officer of Ferré, said the brand’s owner, IT Holding SpA, is repositioning the label. As part of a “global relaunch process…a long-term strategy for the U.S. market is being developed,” Piva said. “We decided to close the Madison Avenue store in view of a future reopening in a location that will better enhance our products from both a merchandising and image point of view.”

Seeking to deflect speculation about Ferré’s performance, IT Holding pointed to the group’s 2007 fourth-quarter financial results when “there was particularly sharp growth” of 17.6 percent.

A new global store concept designed by architect Tiziano Vudafieri will launch at the end of the year with the opening of a Ferré flagship in Milan. Gianfranco Ferré, who died in June 2007 at age 62, was known for his bold, architectural designs. Vudafieri’s concept will be applied to all existing stores and to all new units, including a Manhattan flagship “as soon as we find suitable new premises,” Piva said. “We felt that our current location didn’t reflect the standards of the new direction and its architectural structure was not adaptable to Vudafieri’s new concept.”

The 3,000-square-foot Ferré flagship at 870 Madison Avenue, between 71st and 72nd Streets, opened in 2004 with elegant interiors featuring a two-story entry, polished white floors, glass shelves and separate areas defined by different styles of furniture. It was projected to do $10 million in sales. Ferré has long had a presence in Manhattan. The designer’s previous store opened at 845 Madison Avenue in 1993.

“The brand is absolutely strong, even without creative leadership in the last four collections or the last two seasons,” said Giovanni Paese, investor relations officer, during IT Holding’s first-quarter conference call in May.

The company has named Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi, the design team behind 6267, as creative directors of the brand.

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