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Sean John opens store at Hartsfield-Jackson

By Maria Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

Entertainment mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs' popular clothing label has opened what a company official says is its first store at an airport.

Airport and company officials held a grand-opening ceremony recently for the Sean John store at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The store, which is operated by airport concessionaire HMSHost Corp., is located on Concourse B, near gate B-28, and is one of many stores opening this year as part of the airport's "retail renaissance" program.

The store is Sean John's first inside an airport, said LonDell Wright, vice president for retail at Sean John.

"I think it's a great accomplishment for us, as a brand, to be able to diversify ... and I think it's a testament to Mr. Combs' ability to be such a great marketer," said Wright.

According to Wright, Sean John chose Hartsfield-Jackson because of its status as the world's busiest airport, and because Atlanta is the brand's second-highest region for wholesale. "Because HMSHost is the leader in airport retailing ... we thought they were the appropriate partner," said Wright.

Airport officials say Hartsfield-Jackson serves an estimated 250,000 customers per day and has more than 200 concessions throughout the airport.

The design of the Sean John store at Hartsfield-Jackson is based on the Sean John store on Fifth Avenue in New York City, said Wright.

HMSHost has a seven-year contract to operate stores at Atlanta's airport, as part of the retail renaissance program, according to Marshall Taggart, a marketing manager for the concessions unit at Hartsfield-Jackson.

According to HMSHost's web site, the store operator has been serving travelers for more than 110 years.

Susan Goyette, senior director of communications for HMSHost, said the company has operated stores at Hartsfield-Jackson since 1994, and is planning to have two-dozen new stores open by 2010 as part of the retail renaissance program.

HMSHost operates the Atlanta Magazine HOME store, Z Market, LATHER, Ermenegildo Zegna and Simply Books/Starbucks Coffee at Hartsfield-Jackson, said Goyette.

Sean John's clothing is targeted toward males ages 12 to 45, according to its web site. Combs launched the line in 1998.

"I think it's a fantastic direction the airport is taking with the introduction of a luxury brand," Taggart said.

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On the net:

Sean John: www.seanjohn.com

HMSHost: www.hmshost.com

Hartsfield-Jackson: www.atlanta-airport.com