G-Star will open three new West Coast stores over the next two weeks as part of a retail expansion plan that the Dutch denim maker hopes will result in a quadrupling of its U.S. store base by 2015.
A San Francisco store will open on Saturday at 2060 Chestnut Street; a Scottsdale, Ariz., store will open in the Fashion Square Mall on Sunday and a Santa Monica store will open in the Santa Monica Place development the weekend before Thanksgiving. All three stores are operated by franchisees, as are all of G-Star’s stores worldwide.
The new stores will bring to 13 the total number of units in the U.S., with an average size of 2,500 square feet. The company is aiming for 50 stores in the U.S. within five years, said Stuart Millar, executive vice president of G-Star North America.
Currently, monobrand retail stores account for about 30 percent of total U.S. sales, with another 320 wholesale points of distribution — including Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Atrium, Kitson, Bastille, Hub and LASC — comprising the remainder. Men’s is about 70 percent of sales and women’s is 30 percent, a ratio the company is aiming to bring closer together.
G-Star sales worldwide top the $1 billion mark. The company declined to break out sales for the U.S., but Millar said the market is underdeveloped.
“G-Star is very focused on both the U.S. and Asia as opportunities for growth,” he noted. “With many European brands it takes some time to adjust to the U.S. market and we are learning from our mistakes. We’ve put time and investment into this market and we are accelerating our growth here. We really want to establish ourselves.”
Currently, there are 212 G-Star stores worldwide, with about 60 new stores scheduled to open in the next nine months. Only one store in Amsterdam is owned by G-Star, but the company is seeking to sell that unit to a franchisee.
“We like the franchise model because we are good wholesalers and believe that working with local partners on the stores is the perfect marriage,” said Millar. “We don’t think we can operate the stores as well as people with local market experience.”