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VERNON, CA-Jeans retailer True Religion Apparel Inc. plans to expand its store base considerably, growing from 15 locations anticipated at the end of this year to 30 at the end of 2008 and 50 in 2009, company president Michael Buckley said Wednesday in a presentation to financial analysts. Buckley outlined True Religion’s store expansion plans and other elements of its growth strategy in a presentation at the Thomas Weisel Partners 2007 Consumer Conference at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City.

Buckley explained that the fast-growing company’s sales climbed from $2 million in 2003 to $139 million in 2006 and is on track to top the 2006 number this year despite the economic downturn that has some retailers lagging. “We don’t believe our customers have been impacted by the economic downturn. They have a substantial amount of discretionary income,” the True Religion president said. The company’s high-end jeans retail for about $170 to $400, but Buckley pointed out, “We’re not experiencing any price resistance, and we believe we won’t as long as we offer innovative products.”

True Religion’s store growth somewhat parallels the company’s sales history. The company opened just one store in 2005, opened three last year and this year will finish the year with 15 locations. The company also retails its denim and denim-related sportswear in department stores and boutiques in 50 countries. True Religion also earns licensing revenue from third parties.

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