Spanish fashion chains set to invade UK

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The Independent Online

The Spanish retail giant Grupo Cortefiel is to launch three of its brands in the UK as early as the spring, through its partnership with the property giant Land Securities.

The first stores of the three chains – Cortefiel, Springfield and women'secret, are thought to be set to open in Land Securities' St David's shopping centre in Cardiff. Up to eight stores across the three brands are slated for this year.

The deal is the first completed by Brand Empire, a subsidiary of Land Securities, established to bring large new entrants to the UK market.

While a key focus will be to locate brands in shopping centres controlled by Land Securities, newcomers will be able to negotiate deals with other landlords and scheme operators.

Ezequiel Szafir, general manager for Grupo Cortefiel, said: "Our brands Cortefiel, Springfield and women'secret are already present in over 60 countries around the world, and opening stores in the UK was our obvious next step. This innovative arrangement with Brand Empire will give us quick access with high presence while reducing some of the risks usually encountered when entering a new market."

Brand Empire said it acts as an incubator and will invest in the store environment and employees. Grupo Cortefiel will be responsible for the product line and brand marketing.

Richard Akers, managing director of retail for Land Securities, said: "Brand Empire was born out of the recognition of the difficulties experienced by some retailers in accessing our market. The innovative approach makes it easier for new brands to enter the UK and has the potential to play a significant role in the evolution of the retail environment."