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SCT

Canada’s RYU is expanding to America

RYU Apparel, of Canada, is entering the U.S. market in a big way. The retail company announced that it would open three new stores: in Brooklyn, N.Y.; Los Angeles (specifically Venice, Calif.); and Newport Beach, Calif.

Vancouver, British Columbia–based RYU (Respect Your Universe), founded in 2015, gained fame as an award-winning brand of apparel and accessories designed to fit the performance and the lifestyles of athletic men and woman. The company operates four stores in the Vancouver area and one in downtown Toronto. Its shares trade on the Toronto and Frankfurt, Germany, stock exchanges.

Scott Lifschultz, founder and president of Santa Monica–based SPL Realty Partners, a national tenant representation firm, is spearheading the expansion. The first three stores, each measuring about 2,300 square feet, are to open in the second and third quarters of this year.

“Our product is very urban, so we have to look at urban centers outside of Canada,” said Massimo Bellini Bressi, RYU’s director of business development. “The U.S. is definitely the big market.”

RYU has leased a high-profile corner space in the Lewis Steel Building, at North 4th Street and Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The first RYU in Los Angeles, meanwhile, is coming to 1130 Abbot Kinney Blvd., in Venice — a corner building between retailers Current Elliott and Rag & Bone. Abbot Kinney, dubbed “the coolest block in America” by GQ magazine, is home to national and international brands that include Adidas, Aviator Nation, Robert Graham and Warby Parker. The RYU in Newport Beach will be near Nike and across from a newly expanded Lululemon, joining Peloton, Tesla and other luxury brands.

“These are all flagship-type locations with great co-tenancies, dense demographics and an educated, wealthy and fit consumer in all these markets,” said Lifschultz. “That’s our customer now and moving forward.” Lifschultz is already scouting locations for potential openings in the fourth quarter of this year, particularly in San Jose, Calif., at Westfield Valley Fair and Santana Row, as well as a possible street location in San Francisco.

Unique to this retail category, RYU’s clientele is split almost equally between men and women, with men comprising about 55 percent of the base. “There is a huge opportunity in the men’s category,” said Lifschultz. This comprises apparel and a line of bags and accessories. “RYU is onto something big here.”

There will be no cookie-cutter dimensions for future RYU stores, Bellini says. The downtown Vancouver store measures 1,400 square feet, but the Venice store will exceed 2,000 square feet. “We can adapt from one size to another, including mall and street locations,” Bellini said. “We are not set on any particular format.”

Leasing inquiries may be directed to Scott Lifschultz, president of SPL Realty Partners, at scott@splrealty.com.

By Ben Johnson

Contributor, Shopping Centers Today

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