Byline: David Grant Caplan

NEW YORK — Pepe Jeans London is looking to open stores in the U.S.
Jeans Design Ltd., the New York-based company that produces the brand for the U.S. and Canadian markets, is hunting for real estate in three cities to kick off a retail rollout.
Jonathan Cea, Pepe Jeans London’s executive vice president, told WWD the company plans to have leases signed within four months for sites in New York, Los Angeles and Miami.
“We feel that it’s the best form of advertising,” Cea said. “It solidifies you as a brand.”
Cea said the company plans to open the stores in 2002. He said the firm is looking for spaces between 1,750 and 3,000 square feet.
The stores would carry all of the brand’s lines, including jeanswear, shoes, outerwear and accessories. Pepe Jeans is currently sold in the U.S. in specialty stores and department stores. Pepe Jeans London stand-alone stores are located throughout Europe and Latin America, each operated by the country’s local licensee.
In New York, real estate firm Douglas Elliman is conducting the search, which is focused on sites in SoHo.
Cea said the company is currently eyeing three Manhattan locations: Greene Street, between Prince and Spring Streets; Spring Street, between West Broadway and Wooster Street, and West Broadway, between Houston and Prince Streets.
He added that the company executives are also looking at sites in Miami’s South Beach neighborhood and on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.
Cea said the company plans to open “no more than a dozen [stores] throughout the country by 2004-2005.”
Once the SoHo location is open, Cea said the company will look at adding another New York outlet, either in the meatpacking district or in midtown Manhattan on Madison Avenue or Lexington Avenue.
Other markets the company is interested in expanding into, Cea said, are Dallas, Chicago and San Francisco.