Affliction Pins Down Retail Expansion

By Andrew Asch

Any trip to Affliction Clothing’s Seal Beach, Calif., headquarters will be action-packed. Martial-arts fighters spar in a company gym. Artist John Moss customizes motorcycles in a company workshop at the 70,000-square-foot compound. But the biggest flurry of activity for the lifestyle brand in 2011 will be found on the concrete of retail streets.

Affliction will be rolling out flagship boutiques for its core following of aficionados of tattoo culture, heavy rock music and mixed martial arts, which mixes boxing and other fighting styles. The company will debut a 2,500-square-foot flagship in the former gym area of the headquarters by the end of February. (Affliction also owns a 90,000-square-foot compound across the street from its headquarters.) It plans to open five more flagship stores in American metropolises such as New York and Chicago, as well as debut a store in Hong Kong and a location in South Africa in 2011.

These stores will join a handful of Affliction stores, which the company began opening in 2008 when it debuted a store at 7811 Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles. In 2009, Affliction opened locations at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, as well as a store in Miami and one in Moscow, as well as a store at Camarillo Outlets, located an hour’s drive northwest of downtown Los Angeles. In 2010, the company opened a store at Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J.

The new stores will create a higher profile for the 6-year old fashion label, which aspires to grow, according to Tom Atencio, vice president of marketing for Affliction. “We are a good-size company,” he said. “Are we a Tommy Hilfiger? Are we a Versace? No.”

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