As Kellwood Co. tries to avert bankruptcy, one of its top-performing contemporary brands is moving forward with a retail rollout.
Christopher LaPolice, co-founder and president of Vince, the $90 million contemporary sportswear firm, said even if Kellwood files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Vince will open 10 more stores by spring.
“I would be lying if I said it isn’t a little scary rolling out in a recession, but I see a lot of opportunity in these neighborhoods we are entering,” LaPolice said. “We have an opportunity now that we didn’t have three years ago when we started looking at locations. The rents are lower, and there are some prime spots that have become available.”
On Friday, the company will open its first outlet store in Orlando, Fla., followed by full-price stores on Prince Street in Manhattan on July 25; Malibu, Calif., on July 31; Dallas on Aug. 28; San Francisco on Sept. 4; Boca Raton, Fla., on Sept. 18; White Plains, N.Y., on Oct. 2; Boston on Oct. 16; Short Hills, N.J., on Oct. 30, and Atlanta in the spring. The stores’ average size is 1,100 square feet. LaPolice declined to comment on sales expectations.
These new stores, which feature women’s and men’s sportswear, will join the brand’s three other locations — in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District and two in Los Angeles — which opened this year.
LaPolice said while he and his cofounding partner, Rea Laccone, were looking to open a store three years ago on Mercer Street in Manhattan’s SoHo, they couldn’t find the right location, which is why they decided to wait. It’s a good thing they did, he said, as the Meatpacking location is performing “well above plan,” he said.
“We are noticing all of the locals coming in and really embracing the stores in their neighborhoods,” LaPolice said.
Looking forward, LaPolice said he would like to open a store on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
“The brand has been performing so well at the Barneys Co-op on the Upper West Side, so I can really see us there,” he said.