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Porsche Accelerates Fashion Offerings Outside the Sports Car

SAN DIEGO (TheStreet) -- The Porsche is an instantly recognizable luxury vehicle, but the same cannot necessarily be said of the Porsche fashion collection, watches or smartphones.

Since 1972, the Porsche Design Group, founded by Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, has been creating far more than sports cars. If you haven't seen all the other stylish products Porsche has to offer, you may soon.

Porsche Design Group is in the midst of a global expansion strategy that last year included opening 50 Porsche Design stores, increasing the company's total retail presence around the world to 152. Hong Kong, London and Los Angeles are now all home to new Porsche Design stores.

This year there will be more openings -- from an expansive, two-level store on Madison Avenue in New York City to Milan, one of Europe's most important fashion capitals. Further in the future there will be even more stores. The company is negotiating for space to establish a flagship store in Paris, is on the hunt for a location to open its first store in China and will even open in cities including San Diego, Phoenix and Scottsdale, Ariz.

"In total, we expect at the very end of the day, to have about 180 stores," says Porsche Design Group CEO Juergen Gessler during an interview from New York Fashion Week, about an hour before the brand's own show was about to hit the runway for the first time.

Nearly 200 stores is a long way from the seven Porsche Design Group had in 2004.

At the same time all the stores are opening, product lines are still being launched and others are expanding as the company seeks to establish itself as an overall lifestyle brand.

Porsche Design Group began selling its first women's handbag last year, a truly sleek bag with extendable straps that ranges in price from $1,550 to $29,000 and can double as a shoulder bag. A bigger variety of shoes are also on the horizon, and a line of women's shoes is to be launched next year.

"We are focusing much more on shoes then we have in the past," Gessler says.

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