Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Nygard flagship store opening in Big Apple

Founder says recession a non-factor for company

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Nygard International is opening a new flagship retail store in the heart of New York City as it continues to thumb its nose at the global recession and to ring up double-digit increases in sales.

The new 2,500-square-foot store, which is scheduled to open Nov. 6 on the corner of Broadway and 40th Avenue, is being built next door to the company's seven-storey, multimillion-dollar, World Headquarters building now nearing completion in the Times Square area of downtown New York.

"Here we are in the heart and soul of the fashion capital of the world," company founder and chairman Peter Nygard said in an interview Thursday.

"This (the new headquarters and retail store) will be the face of our company in New York. It also marks our arrival as a retailer."

Although Nygard has store-within-a-store outlets in Dillard's department stores throughout the United States, this will be its first stand-alone store south of the border.

He said the new store, which will be called "Nygard", will carry the firms Peter Nygard, Bianca Nygard and Nygard Collection brands, which are its higher-end women's clothing lines.

The company has no plans to open any more stand-alone stores in the United States.

But if those plans change, Nygard said any other new stores would also be located in New York City because the company is already well represented in other U.S. markets with its Dillard's outlets.

Although this may not seem like the best time to be opening a new retail store, Nygard said the global recession has been a non-factor for Nygard International, which got its start in Winnipeg and still has a major manufacturing-and-design presence here.

The first six months of 2009 was the best first half in the company's 42-year history.

He said the firm, which bills itself as the largest women's clothing manufacturer in Canada and the third largest in North America, is also on pace to record a 25 per cent increase in sales for 2009.

"Our new logo is 'we've decided not to join the recession.'"

Nygard attributed the company's success during difficult economic times to a superior business model and a focus on being a "value supplier" of women's clothing.

"In times like this, consumers are very value conscious, so they're flocking to our products," he said. "We have seen this type of thing numerous times over the years."

He added that company officials are also projecting an even bigger increase in sales -- 30 per cent or more -- for 2010.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 28, 2009 B5

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