American handbag companies set to open first stores in the UK

US handbag designer Deborah Lloyd ramps up Kate Spade the brand's visibility this October with the opening of her first UK store and the debut of the first pair of denim jeans in her collection. Meanwhile, American leather goods company Coach is also set on conquering the UK market with ambitious plans to open up to 15 stores within the next three years.

Kate Spade will launch its first UK pop-up store in London's Covent Garden on October 13 through November 10. Situated at 7 Henrietta St., the 2,700-square-foot (250 square meters) boutique will feature the entire Kate Spade collection, including handbags, luggage, shoes, jewelry, stationery, eye-wear and apparel.

The brand has earned a cult following among women since its launch in 1993 thanks to Spade's cute and practical handbags that suit both work and play. Famed for their vintage shapes, luxurious detailing and ladylike embellishments, they range in various shapes from work totes to tiny clutches and are available in a multitude of textures ranging from leather to the brand's signature nylon.

In addition to the company's transatlantic foray, they're also delving into the world of denim this fall. Kate Spade has recently unveiled their Broome Street Jeans, named for the street that her Soho, New York store resides on. The deep indigo-rinse skinny jeans taper at the ankles, making them optimal for both day (when paired with colorful ballerina flats) or night (when worn with fierce stilettos). Sizes run from 23 to 34. Jeans sell for $195 a pair. They are now available for purchase in-store or online at www.katespade.com. The website only processes domestic US orders but will ship to the UK as of November 10th.

Another American handbag company with plans to penetrate the UK market is Coach. The $3.61 billion brand has already made successful forays in Europe (notably in Spain and France) and now has plans to open between up to 15 Coach locations within the UK over the next three years.

Coach had already entered the UK market in the 1990s, but had pulled the plug on operations due to poor sales figures and a general lack of reception by British customers. Despite the initial flop, Coach is intent on growing its brand there. The first store, a 3,000-square-foot (278 square meters) shop at the Westfield White City mall in West London, will open its doors in Spring 2011. And over the summer, Coach will also launch a 5,100-square-foot (473 square meters) flagship (the first in Europe) on New Bond Street.

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