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"We have an opportunity to build an incredible premium sportswear business on the back of our premium denim business," said Lubell.
Lubell said nondenim items accounted for a larger portion of True Religion's product portfolio in each quarter this year. The goal is to have nondenim items represent 25 percent of its product mix by the end of 2006. Some of those new items include stretch fabrics in corduroy, velvet, cashmere sweaters, suede and leather, said Lubell. To achieve this growth, the company is investing in its design teams.
"We're in a hiring mode," said Lubell. "We've hired three design assistants over the last six months and plan to hire another three."
Lubell conceded the premium denim market is getting increasingly crowded, which could make achieving future growth more difficult. However, throughout the call Lubell stressed that the company was not encountering any price resistance.
"Our pricing has held steady in an increasingly competitive environment in wholesale and at retail," said Lubell.
The company continues to add more than just new bodies and silhouettes into its core denim mix. For spring, it launched the Super Big-T stitch, a design that features multiple ends of thread with two stitches per inch, significantly larger than most traditional stitching. Super Big-T stitch will be incorporated into True Religion's best-selling styles such as the Joey, a flared look; the Johnny, a straight leg; the Bobby, a boot-cut, and the Jimmy, a denim jacket. Styles incorporating the Super Big-T stitch will wholesale between $135 and $200.
The company's first freestanding retail operation, in Manhattan Beach, Calif., has also achieved early success. The store, which opened on Dec. 2, has so far generated sales of about $500,000, according to Lubell, which works out to $2,000 per square foot a month. Management has its sights set on opening stores in San Francisco and Las Vegas, and plans to open a store in New York this year.
— Ross Tucker
Blogging the Blues
Feeling blue? Blogger Henry Wong certainly is. The 22-year-old online diarist has dreamed up what's billed as the first fashion blog devoted to denim.