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NEWPORT BEACH, CA-The American Rag Cie LLC joint venture of American Rag II and Tarrant Apparel Group of Los Angeles has signed a lease for a 12,500-sf location at Fashion Island that will be a “flagship store,” the company says. The location will place American Rag in a center with more than 200 specialty stores, restaurants and department stores.

The Fashion Island store will be the latest location in which American Brand has taken space in a high-traffic venue known for fashionable stores. Among its others are what American Rag calls “trendy vintage and fashion-forward stores” on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles and on Van Ness Boulevard in San Francisco.

The company also plans to open additional stores “in key fashion destinations” in the future, according to American Rag CEO Mark Werts. He said the Fashion Island is “just the beginning of American Rag’s expansion plans” but did not elaborate on plans for any specific number of stores or geographic locations.

Besides operating its stores at fashionable shopping districts, American Rag clothing is sold at Macy’s and other Federated department stores as well as at eight American Rag retail stores in Japan. American Rag II and Tarrant Apparel Group formed the joint venture in 2003 when Tarrant bought a 45% interest in American Rag.

Publicly held Tarrant manufactures and distributes for specialty retailers, mass merchants, national department stores and branded wholesalers via its subsidiary, Private Brands Inc. In addition to American Rag CIE, it has exclusive license agreements with several celebrity brands such as Jessica Simpson and Beyonce Knowles’ House of Dereon.

Tarrant recently reported a quarterly profit that totaled $1.7 million for the period ended Sept. 30, compared with a loss of $4 million in the previous year’s third quarter on sales that climbed 83% to $69.6 million. The company credited its private brands business for most of the sales increase.

In their comments on the quarterly results, company officials cited the American Rag and Alain Weiz brands as well as contributions from newly launched brands, such as JS by Jessica Simpson, Princy by Jessica Simpson, and Gear 7progress that helped to boost sales and earnings.

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