Italy's Roberto Cavalli to open 85 stores in China

Italian fashion brand Roberto Cavalli said it will open 85 new stores in China within the next five years under a deal signed on Tuesday with Shanghai-based retail giant UCCAL Group.

The company will open its first stores under the new deal in Beijing and Shanghai between late 2011 and early 2012, it said in a statement.

The venture will be called Roberto Cavalli China and will be owned 75 percent by the Roberto Cavalli Group and 25 percent by UCCAL.

"The collaboration with UCCAL... will surely be a success in a market that is so prominent, fascinating and in which every day I want to dive more into in order to understand its secrets and culture," Roberto Cavalli said.

The stores will include five high-end "Roberto Cavalli" stores to be managed by the joint venture and 80 outlets for the more popular brands "Just Cavalli" and "Class Roberto Cavalli" which UCCAL will handle directly.

The last two brands already have 20 outlets in China.

Cavalli, 70, started out in Florence in the early 1960s and hit financial trouble during the global economic crisis but has bounced back.

His clothes are available in more than 50 countries.

Cavalli joins a long list of European luxury and fashion names who have piled into the high-growth Chinese market in recent years.