NEW YORK — Asics is back in the New York retail fray.Two years after a dispute with a licensee led to the abrupt closure of all 13 of its full-price stores in the U.S., the Japanese activewear brand has opened a new flagship on Fifth Avenue.The 2,035-square-foot store at 579 Fifth Avenue at 47th Street opened to the public Thursday and is located one block north of the Adidas flagship.The new Asics unit is the first in North America to sport the brand’s global retail concept that seeks to stimulate customers’ minds as well as their bodies. It also marks the first time in the U.S. that the core Asics product as well as the younger-skewed Asics Tiger line are offered in the same location.“We’re bringing the brand to life in a retail environment,” said Sarah Bishop, vice president of marketing. Upon entering, there is an area where the company’s new marketing campaign, I Move Me featuring DJ Steve Aoki, is brought to life through the use of an infinity mirror, LED light columns and visuals from the campaign.Bishop said the area will also be used as “an activation space” where the brand will host classes with fitness experts in a variety of disciplines over the opening weekend. Beyond that, Asics hopes to hold similar events periodically next year, Bishop said.The main floor features a special area devoted to the new Strong Collection of women’s wear that is intended to address the popular ath-leisure trend. There's also a wall of footwear identified by use — Easy, Trail, Road and Fast — and complemented by the brand’s collection of performance apparel for men and women.Downstairs is the Asics Tiger offering, which includes both footwear and apparel. Bishop said this collection “speaks to the urban consumer” and has a “younger feel.” The brand intends to host events in this space as well.Next year, Asics plan on opening an additional three flagship stores in North America to join the New York City store as well as two others that have opened earlier this year in Minnesota and Hawaii. There are currently seven stores around the country offering either the core Asics brands or Asics Tiger. The first Tiger store opened in SoHo in October.
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