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Koret opening specialty shops

Tue., Aug. 29, 2006

A familiar name in women’s apparel is moving beyond department store racks and into a specialty store at NorthTown Mall.

Koret, a brand catering to women 55 and older, is trying its hand at retail with the opening of five specialty stores in several Western states. The brand has previously been sold through department stores and company-owned outlet stores.

The NorthTown Koret will be located in about 2,600 square feet of space on the lower level, near Sears, said Aaren McBride, retail coordinator for Kellwood Retail Group, a division of Kellwood Co., which owns Koret.

Koret will sell a mix of women’s tailored and casual sportswear, handbags and scarves, she said, and is set to open Sept. 16.

Although Koret operates 51 outlet stores in various malls throughout the country, this is the first store of any type to open in Washington.

Kellwood Co. is headquartered in Chesterfield, Mo. and markets two dozen brands that include Sag Harbor. Last year the company had more than $2 billion in sales.

McBride said the company is looking to fill a niche for baby boomers, a group she said is sometimes neglected in favor of younger shoppers.

Stores will open in areas with a significant population of mature women – including Portland, Provo, Utah, Mesa and Tucson, Ariz.

Spokane was a top location because the 2000 U.S. Census showed that 21.4 percent of the total population is over age 55. Additionally, a retail survey found healthy sales of sportswear with broad appeal to mature women – including Sag Harbor and Liz Claiborne. NorthTown has high overall sportswear sales, so it was chosen for a store, she said.

McBride said the company has no immediate plans to expand beyond the initial five specialty shops, adding, “We’re just seeing how well each community responds to the stores.”


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