Rodd & Gunn, known for its men’s wear classics inspired by its Queenstown, New Zealand heritage, is thinking big at retail.
The company, which currently counts 100 stores in Australia and New Zealand, has its sights set on the States following its November announcement of a minority investment by Chicago private equity firm Winona Capital, which it said at the time was aimed at growing its North American business.
The company will open its first U.S. store at the upscale Fashion Island shopping center in Newport Beach, Calif. Oct. 6. It will take up about 2,200 square feet of space, bringing it with it the same branding elements of the company’s other doors, including chevron-patterned wood-paneled walls, custom tartan and leather-bound pieces.
Rodd & Gunn’s arrival is another notch in Fashion Island’s belt. It’s will be the seventh addition this year to the center, which counts anchors in Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom. Next year is expected to bring an AG.
“Because we’re in Nordstrom, we have such a familiarity with the customers in that [Newport Beach] area and, performance-wise, Rodd & Gunn was doing fantastic,” said brand marketing manager Stephanie Noonan of the choice for the company’s first store.
The company initially thought the brand would be served well by first entering the Chicago or Seattle markets, according to Noonan. But its existing wholesale business in the U.S. and the performance of that is what ultimately steered it to Orange County. The brand, in the U.S., is also sold in about 200 stores such as Trunk Club along with boutiques and resorts.
The firm’s already eyeing additional locations for Rodd & Gunn stores in the U.S. with another two to three doors expected to have been opened in the next 12 months, according to Noonan.
That growth is in addition to the sprucing of some of the company’s existing doors as Rodd & Gunn, like many retailers hoping to create experiences and extend in-store length of stays, aims to add what Noonan called a lifestyle component at some locations.
Today, its 25-year-old store in Queenstown will see the debut of a bar element that will now take up a portion of the store. The bar is attached to the store with large glass industrial doors opening up into the retail element.
“We want to roll out this lifestyle concept only where we have stores where we can do it,” Noonan said, with elements of it being eyed for stores in California and Australia.
Fashion Island, Noonan confirmed, will be a regular store.
The company’s own retail growth follows its relocation about 18 months ago from New York to a San Francisco warehouse conversion, where it moved its U.S. team and showroom in a decision Noonan said came down to the staff’s personal preference about where they wanted to reside.