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NANTUCKET, MA-Tween Brands is only slightly upping the numbers of its mainstay brand stores, Limited Too, while it plans to open 100 of its new off-mall, moderately-priced Justice stores this year, said Ken Stevens, president and COO of the company during a presentation at the Wachovia Securities 2007 Nantucket Equity Conference here Tuesday. The New Albany, OH-based company is also benefiting from popular accessory sales, and is considering a new, dual-gender big-box store that would open by 2009.

The Limited Too split from Limited Brands in 1999, and the first Justice stores opened in January 2004. The stores focus on sportswear, related accessories and lifestyle items for girls ages 7-14. Limited Too units are mostly in indoor malls and lifestyle centers, while Justice stores are in power centers that are anchored by large apparel tenants (instead of home improvement or electronics stores) and at prices about 25% less than Limited Too. Stevens said the stores mostly cater to parents with median incomes of $90,000.

There are 569 Limited Too stores, averaging 4,200 sf, in 46 states and Puerto Rico, as well as 22 in the Middle East. Stevens said there will be a net increase of up to 30 new stores this year, and another 50 that are being remodeled. “We further believe that we can grow this to a 650- to 750-store chain,” he said at the conference.

The Justice stores came about because research showed more families doing a greater percentage of shopping off-mall, and fewer conventional malls are being built, Stevens said. “We just celebrated the opening of our 200th Justice store, an important milestone for a concept that began just three and a half years ago,” he said. “We believe we can maintain the pace of opening 100 stores a year for the next few years. With more than 1,000 power centers across the country, that’s a potential for at least 800 new stores.”

Another growth potential is that other gender out there – boys, said Stevens. The company is considering a big-box store that would have girls and boys clothing, in a 10,000 sf footprint. “We hope to have it for 2009 back-to-school shopping,” he said.

The company is also getting a boost from its choice to be one of the only retailers of Webkinz, a new stuffed-animal toy that is paired with a Web-based experience, one of the hottest selling toys today. “We’ve bought well over a million units and will be one of the only retailers for these toys,” Stevens said. “We believe the accessory business will help propel us into an incredible holiday season.”

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