The Tumon Sands Plaza will have two new stores open in time for the 2007 Golden Week. Richard Hawes managing director of Gemkell Corp. which does business as Dunhill at the Tumon Sands Plaza and managing director of Taga Fashion LLC; will bring in Lacoste under Gemkell and Chloe under Taga.

Lacoste will be located in the wing that connects Tumon Sands’ south wing with the center court. The retail space is about 1 000 square feet. Construction on the retail space is slated to begin in January 2007 and Hawes hopes to have the store open by April 1 2007. He said the date could be pushed back but he that it would be open for the beginning of Golden Week.

"We’ve recruited the architect. We’re in the design phase. The schematic design is being done in Paris. We should receive that by the end of this month [November]. We’ll start construction in January and the targeted opening date for Lacoste is April 1."

Hawes said he decided to open Lacoste because Guam has the high-end fashions and entry-level fashions but no mid-level fashions. "Lacoste is a middle brand. It’s a lifestyle brand. That’s what they refer to themselves as. It’s a sporty fun brand with a heritage based in tennis and golf "¦ what I felt was that Guam didn’t have a brand like that because the price point of Lacoste is inexpensive compared to a Chanel bag or Louis Vuitton wallet but the quality’s still good." Hawes said.

According to Hawes Lacoste was also looking for someone to open a store to expand into the Asia Pacific region. "They have opened many stores in Duty Free locations in Asia "" in airports. This store will be probably one of the biggest that they will have and they’re quite excited about having this flagship Lacoste store."

"Lacoste is a brand that was very big "" huge about 20 years ago. It leveled off but now in the last three to five years it’s really come back. It’s huge in the states."

The store will have the full range of Lacoste products including accessories luggage wallets sunglasses shoes watches and clothing for both men and women.

Since Lacoste has its heritage in tennis and golf Hawes said that it would get involved with local tennis and golf tournaments. "They want to spend money on advertising. They want to be part of the community. They’re really trying to get their name back out there."

Chloe will be located in the center court of the Tumon Sands Plaza. Hawes said that Chloe was probably the most fashionable brand for women’s accessories and clothing. "It’s extremely hot. It’s very big around the world." He said that the Chloe brand is very unique compared to other brands.

Hawes said he found out through his contacts in the retail industry that like Lacoste Chloe was also looking to expand into the Asia Pacific region. For Chloe Hawes set up a separate entity Taga Fashion. "I’ve got a couple of local partners who wish to remain anonymous."

The store will also be about 1 000 square feet and will only sell accessories. "Mainly women’s handbags and purses sunglasses mobile phone straps and other small accessories and gifting items. No clothing. I’m not going to do the ready to wear. In my experience is in Guam that high-end luxury clothing "" ready to wear "" does not do as well because the tourists will generally buy their ready to wear at home in Japan or in Europe. For some reason Guam hasn’t done well in that area. It’s much more of an accessories market " Hawes said.

The target opening date for Chloe is March 23 2007. Hawes said that this date could also be pushed back but would be open in time for Golden Week.

Both stores will follow the Tumon Sands’ business hours and will be open from 10 a.m. through 10 p.m. daily. Each location will have four to six employees. The new stores will keep the current lines for both brands.

With three stores in one location Hawes said he wasn’t worried about the stores taking away each other’s business. "They’re all different. That’s another reason why I set these companies up. Dunhill is a men’s brand and it’s high-end. Chloe is a women’s brand and it’s high-end and fashion whereas Dunhill is more of a permanent line. Lacoste is a lifestyle brand which is inexpensive. Lacoste should appeal to local people as well as tourists. Dunhill and Chloe do appeal to locals but it’s a much smaller segment."

He said that Lacoste and Chloe have been very helpful with the planning of the stores and both brands both believe in Guam as a strong tourist destination. "The brands are fully involved. They have to approve the location. They’ve had to approve the design. They’ve had to improve the product mix. They’ve been out here and visited Guam. They’re very excited about Tumon Sands Plaza who has been a good partner for my company. They’re happy with the flagship stores being at Tumon Sands Plaza.MBJ