PORTLAND, Ore., Dec. 11, 2013 /CNW/ - Respect Your Universe, Inc. ("RYU") (TSX VENTURE: RYU) (OTCQB: RYUN) announced today that it has signed a five year lease with General Growth Properties Inc. ("GGP") to open its initial flagship store in downtown Seattle at GGP's Westlake Center. RYU designed this new retail location to create a unique retail shopping experience that inspires passion for its brand, customer engagement, and ease of shopping.
Westlake Center is located in the core of Seattle's downtown retail and business district on the busiest part of Pine Street and is adjacent to Nordstrom's and Macy's flagship stores. Westlake Center is in close proximity to many major and upscale boutique hotels, the Seattle Monorail, the Seattle Cruise Port, the Washington State Convention Center and world-renowned Pike Place Market, Seattle's most visited and well-known attraction. The center's collection of national retailers include PF Chang's China Bistro, Nordstrom Rack, Starbucks Coffee, LUSH, and Marbles: The Brain Store.
RYU has partnered with Los Angeles based architect and retail strategist Richard Altuna, a 25-year veteran known for his work with Patagonia, Restoration Hardware, The Gap, and The Nature Company. Mr. Altuna designed the first Imaginarium store, which won three national merchandising awards and generated per square foot sales two times the national average.
The 2,082 square foot flagship RYU store will occupy a premium second floor location at the foot of the escalator to the monorail train and adjacent to a soon to be open Zara. RYU anticipates that the store will open in late December 2013 to capture a portion of holiday sales and will undergo transition into the full flagship design in time for the grand opening in late March, 2014.
"This is a milestone for RYU," stated Chief Executive Officer, Craig Brod, PhD., "as it demonstrates GGP's belief in our new retail concept in a location that generates significant retail traffic. This marks a milestone step in our efforts to reposition our brand and to execute our retail expansion strategy."
Mr. Terry Migliaccio, Senior Director of Leasing for GGP, is excited about RYU's potential and he noted: "We are excited to have RYU as part of our tenant mix and look forward to their success. We believe RYU is a great fit for our store mix and mall. One of the major benefits of RYU's location is its proximity to the Seattle Monorail stop at the Westlake Center as an estimated 2 million passengers at the Westlake Center stop pass directly in front of the new RYU store."
RYU's near term expansion plan includes an outlet store which is currently in the final stages of negotiations and is expected to open in early 2014. In addition, RYU has begun discussion with another premium mall landlord for a second flagship store with a target opening in the first half of 2014.
About Respect Your Universe:
Respect Your Universe Inc. is a vertically integrated, active lifestyle apparel brand focused on the needs of individuals and athletes alike. The men's and women's performance and active wear lines are specially designed for people who love to move, feel comfortable and look great. Crafted from organic and/or recycled materials, our products are also designed to help nurture the environment. For more information, visit http://www.ryu.com.
About Richard Altuna:
Richard Altuna graduated from the University of Arizona and has over 25 years active practice as a retail concept design architect and strategist. He has worked on several master-planning projects in CA, TX, NY, Saudi Arabia and China. Throughout his career, Mr. Altuna has worked with notable leaders in the retail community including Gary Freidman originally of William Sonoma and Pottery Barn and now Restoration Hardware, Mickey Drexler of The Gap, Alice Waters of Chez Panisse and Kirk Perron of Jamba Juice.
On Behalf of the Board
RESPECT YOUR UNIVERSE, INC.
/s/ Craig Brod
CEO and Director
Statements regarding opening a store at the Westlake Center in late December 2013, the grand opening in March 2014, the new outlet store in early 2014, and second flagship store expected to open in the first half of 2014 are "forward-looking statements", which are subject to risks and uncertainties, which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of RYU to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, among others, that RYU may be unable to open any new stores, changes in general economic or market conditions that could impact consumer demand for RYU's products, RYU's ability to execute on its business plan, and RYU needs additional capital, which it may be unable to obtain on terms acceptable to RYU. Except as required by law, RYU undertakes no responsibility to update any of the forward-looking statements contained in this news release.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
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SOURCE: Respect Your Universe, Inc.
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