NEW YORK — Club Monaco is taking a new look at accessories.

This story first appeared in the November 24, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Where once the retail chain scattered its assortment of handbags, belts, scarves and hats across the main floor as an accent to its apparel, the subsidiary of Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. is now planning to roll out stand-alone accessories departments to highlight its colorful, trendy merchandise. To that end, the company just unveiled the first, 600-square-foot accessories department at its store at 160 Fifth Avenue here.

“Club Monaco accessory sales have doubled each year over the past two years,” said a Club Monaco spokeswoman. “We wanted a dedicated area to present the full color and style point of view.”

Located at the rear of the main floor in a space formerly occupied by cosmetics, the new accessories department is organized by zestful colors rather than classifications, with this season’s palette including red, pink, purple, gray, white and bright green. The selection ranges from black-and-white striped scarves to pink-and-purple hats and lime green gloves. Typically, Club Monaco’s best-selling accessories categories are handbags, belts and hats, but this fall gloves and hosiery have proven to be top sellers, said the spokeswoman.

Among the most popular items in the new department is a faux crocodile vibrant green “Debbie” bag priced at $99, which even had a waiting list and sold out before hitting the floor. Prices generally range from $30 to $200.

The spokeswoman declined to disclose sales projections and volume information, but said accessories sales represent about 5 to 10 percent of the overall Club Monaco business. The Fifth Avenue department will act as a blueprint for other Club Monaco stores.

“We are looking at similar presentations in other flagship locations such as Toronto, Los Angeles and Chicago,” she said.