Harvey Nicks in Brazil? Fabulous

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The Independent Online

Harvey Nichols, the West London Mecca for fashion victims everywhere, is considering opening in one of the world's biggest cities, Sao Paulo.

The department store chain, given iconic status as the favourite haunt of the Absolutely Fabulous characters, opened its first overseas store, in Dubai, last week. But it is now looking at even more exotic locations.

A spokesman declined to comment, other than to confirm that the chain was looking at "a number of places". But a source close to the company added: "Brazil is a fantastic location. They want to be in places where they can bring something to the melting pot and where a good Harvey Nichols is wanted."

Sao Paulo is one of the world's biggest cities, with more than 20 million people. Although still home to slums - called favelas - and considerable poverty, it has become more cosmopolitan as Brazil's economy has started to grow.

Economists predict that Brazil, along with China, Russia and India, will be one of the powerhouses behind world growth. The country is locked in talks about removing world trade barriers, which it believes will allow its economy to prosper further.

In recent years, Harvey Nichols - which has its seven-storey flagship store in Knightsbridge - has expanded across the UK. As well as major outlets in cities such as Leeds and Edinburgh, it is experimenting with a "boutique" format, and will open a smaller shop in Bristol by 2008. It then wants to open up to 10 boutique stores across Britain by 2015.

Overseas, it plans to open in Istanbul this year. But it is understood that the chain will not be opening in such cities as New York or Paris, where competition for high-fashion stores is far stiffer.