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NEW YORK — Porsche Design, the Stuttgart, Germany-based men’s fashion and accessories brand, is going to great lengths to establish a foothold in the U.S.

This month, Porsche opened a 1,724-square-foot flagship at 642 Madison Avenue in the General Motors Building here, a high-profile spot commanding a premium rent said to be around $1,000 a foot. The store must generate high productivity to turn a profit, which is in the plan.

“The goal is definitely $5 million,” said Siegmund Rudigier, president and chief executive of the Porsche Design Group. “The question is, when are we going to do it?” He wouldn’t confirm the rent.

The brand, consisting of men’s timepieces, eyewear, pocketknives, writing instruments, jewelry, apparel, leather goods and luggage, is eager to secure some of the best mall and street locations in America. “We can imagine opening 15 stores over the next three to five years in major cities,” said Rudigier. Porsche Design also just opened a unit in NorthPark Center in Dallas, and already had opened stores in Beverly Hills on Bristol Street and in South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Other locations are being planned in Boston’s Copley Place, as well as in Las Vegas, San Francisco, Honolulu and Bal Harbour, Fla. The stores will be between 800 and 2,000 square feet, with the ideal around 1,500 square feet. Porsche also operates shop-in-shops and wholesales. Rudigier said there are no plans to create women’s products, even though one-quarter of the label’s customers are women.

Porsche Design stores are also in Berlin, Hamburg and London.

The Madison Avenue flagship is clean and masculine with a sleek, dark and moody design. It’s furnished with black stratified slate and smoked oak, and black, metallic and brown tones. The decor mirrors the highly engineered character of the products. The store was developed by the company and Italian architect Matteo Thun and KMS from Munich.

The Madison Avenue and Dallas units are part of a new generation of Porsche Design stores that feature “the gate to the future” technology. The first opened in Berlin in January 2005. The technology includes three plasma monitors on the left and right walls and in the center of the store, and a scan table. When a product is placed on the scan table, a film showing the product from different angles and providing information appears on the monitors. “Night browsing” is another feature. It enables customers to surf the product range by using touch control to show images of products and information in the window. The store also has mood lighting that changes as shoppers navigate the store. “With luxury products, the functionality and technical aspects are even more important to explain,” Rudigier said.

This story first appeared in the March 31, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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