Asics Opens First U.S. Retail Location

Asics unveiled its first U.S. retail location today at 51 West 42nd Street in New York. Company chairman Kiyomi Wada was on hand to cut the ribbon along with other executives, including Rich Bourne, president and CFO of Irvine, Calif.-based Asics America, and Gary Muhrcke, owner of nine Super Runners Shop stores, who will run the Asics flagship.

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Asics unveiled its first U.S. retail location today at 51 West 42nd Street in New York. Company chairman Kiyomi Wada was on hand to cut the ribbon along with other executives, including Rich Bourne, president and CFO of Irvine, Calif.-based Asics America, and Gary Muhrcke, owner of nine Super Runners Shop stores, who will run the Asics flagship.
It was 60 years ago this fall that Kihachiro Onitsuka started the company that would become Asics, Wada said at an in-store press conference this morning, noting the store launch helps celebrate this special anniversary. Despite the state of the economy, he said, Asics’ business remains strong, and it has been planning a U.S. location for five years. The company moved quickly to ensure the running specialty store would be open before the Nov. 1 ING New York City Marathon, which Asics has sponsored since 1988. “New York is an active city in the running community,” Bourne said. “We feel this is the perfect time and place to mark our debut as a retailer in the U.S.”
The Midtown Manhattan location—the brand’s fourth store (there are two  in Tokyo and one in London)—is stocked with men’s and women’s running shoes as well as high-performance apparel and accessories. At the front of the store visitors will find Asics’ proprietary Foot ID system, through which staff can do a 3-D foot scan and gait analysis to help customers find the best-fitting shoe. “It attracts traffic,” Muhrcke said of the slick testing room and treadmill that passersby can view from the sidewalk. Muhrcke, who used to run a New Balance store in the same retail space, noted the location—across the street from Bryant Park—is also a tremendous asset for Asics.
The company has a full slate of opening-weekend events planned, including a “fun run” through the city and in-store promotions and giveaways. Some of Asics’ professional athletes will also make guest appearances, including Olympic sprinter Lolo Jones, who said at the launch event that training in Asics has helped her improve her times year after year.
Wada noted Asics hopes to bring its retail concept to other major U.S. markets, pinpointing Boston and Chicago as two the company is eyeing for the future. As for 2010, he said the brand’s foremost goals are to strength its position as a premier source for running footwear and continue to build up its apparel sales.
 

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