Products of Tom FordTaking over the world, one continent at a time

Tom Ford is going big. Really big. Two months after he debuted his menswear line and Manhattan retail flagship, the design impresario is finally making good on promises of global expansion.

Tom Ford International today announced a targeted global expansion plan starting with four directly operated stores that are slated to open over the next three years in Milan, London, Los Angeles, and Hawaii. The first Tom Ford directly owned flagship store bowed in April at 845 Madison Avenue here.

As previously announced, initial distribution of the collection will be exclusive to the New York flagship for the first year.

Ford also unveiled plans for the exclusive limited distribution of the Tom Ford Menswear collection, with select luxury retail partners in the U.S. and Europe beginning next spring. The resulting overall plan will create more than 100 free standing Tom Ford retail stores worldwide over the next 10 years, as well as a carefully guided distribution network of shop-in-shops with luxury retail partners.

“This is a great day for us as we have now laid the foundation necessary to become a true global luxury brand and to allow us the platform needed to reach and service our customers worldwide,” said Tom Ford, president and chief executive officer, in a statement.

Agreements with key franchise partners that will allow for a focused expansion schedule beginning in Spring 2008 for key cities in Europe, South America, Asia, and the Middle East were also revealed. That premise will widen beginning in 2008 with the opening of a directly operated flagship store in Milan, as well as franchised flagship stores in Moscow, Zurich, St. Moritz, Hong Kong, Beijing, Kuwait, Dubai, and Qatar. Exclusive shop-in-shop agreements have also been signed, beginning in Spring 2008 with Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus in the U.S., Harrods in London, Daslu in São Paolo, Brazil, and multiple shop-in-shops in Tokyo and Osaka in Japan.

Additional partnerships have been formed with Trois Pommes in Switzerland, Mercury in Russia, and Villa Moda and the UAE Trading in the Middle East.

“We will remain in much tighter distribution than our competitors and will place a priority on delivering the highest quality product and the greatest standard of service,” Ford continued. “Our franchise and retail partners are the best in the business and with them we are confident that we will build a strong global presence and stand for excellence in a world of decreasing standards.”

In 2009, an additional 12 stores will open, including a directly operated flagship store in London, a franchised flagship store in Shanghai, and a second store in Beijing. In 2010, directly operated stores will open in L.A. and Hawaii with 15 franchised stores scheduled to open in Asia including a flagship store in Tokyo. Over the next 10 years, a minimum of 87 franchised Tom Ford stores will open throughout Asia in partnership with The Lane Crawford Joyce Group, including, but not limited to Japan, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Macau, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Australia.

Domenico De Sole, the brand’s chairman, added that the new partnerships will “give us the necessary competitive advantage as we expand our menswear business globally. With a clearly defined distribution plan in place and a discerning eye on quality, service and design we are poised to establish the first true luxury brand of the 21st century.”