Irvine, CA-based surfwear brand Billabong ( is planning to open a flagship retail store in New York's Times Square. The 4,000 square-foot store is scheduled to open in the spring of 2005 and will be located at 1515 Broadway directly below MTV Studios. This is the company's ninth Billabong branded store in North America.

The company is also opening an Element store in an adjoining 1,800 square-foot location. This will be the first Element branded store in the US.

"This gives us an opportunity to showcase both Billabong and Element branded products in one of the world's most prominent retail areas," said Billabong USA President Paul Naude in a press release.

The new stores will be operated under license by Ed Leasure, a successful boardsport retailer who operates a number of stores on the East Coast.

Joselle Yokogawa, Features Editor