Calvin Klein rang in 2008 by launching a store in Los Angeles’ Beverly Center.

The 12,000-square-foot unit is among five new Calvin Klein-branded stores in the U.S. featuring apparel and accessories under the Calvin Klein white label.

“A very high percentage of our total business is in California, and it’s always been a strong state for the brand, so we anticipate this may be our top-performing store,” said John Walsh, president and chief operating officer, Calvin Klein Retail.

The Jan. 2 launch followed a Calvin Klein opening at Cherry Creek in Denver last month. There are also new stores at Lenox Square in Atlanta, The Mall at Partridge Creek in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and the Natick Collection in Natick, Mass. In 2008, Calvin Klein stores are planned for South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., the Forum Shops in Las Vegas, and in Miami.

Walsh said California could eventually be the location for another dozen stores, with as many as 80 to 125 units across the U.S. About 80 percent of the merchandise is exclusive to the retail locations.

Three years after being launched, white label offerings, including the core sportswear lines, as well as jeanswear, fragrance and underwear, represent more than $3 billion in global retail sales, the company said.

Tom Murry, president and chief operating officer of Calvin Klein Inc., which is owned by Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., has said the freestanding stores are key to white label because “they provide an experiential platform to showcase the brand’s lifestyle” and raise its profile.

The sixth-floor Beverly Center location, formerly a Pottery Barn, features a modern look, with a mix of white, concrete and mahogany walls, as well as mahogany brushed aluminum and mahogany fixtures and hand-rubbed steel racks. All five new stores were designed by New York City-based Lynch Eisinger Design.

Among the items at Beverly Center are a herringbone cropped jacket, $168, a gray patent leather belt, $48, and a black patent leather satchel, $268.

Almost 60 percent of the apparel in the Calvin Klein stores is casual, with the other 40 percent dedicated to dressier clothing.

This story first appeared in the January 9, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“This is a great center with a great assortment of stores,” Walsh said. “There were some surprises in the demolition, and it took 20 weeks rather than the typical 14. It has cost a significant amount if money to roll this out.”

The brand chose the Taubman Centers Inc.-owned Beverly Center despite construction that has some of the mall’s 160 retail shops and restaurants complaining of a drop-off in foot traffic and sales since the work got under way in 2006. It is expected to be completed soon.

The center’s escalators are being replaced and there is extensive structural work, all of which is being done during nonbusiness hours.

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