Openings to be in Middle East
Fast-growing Spanish fashion retailer Cortefiel has revealed it is to double its number of stores to nearly 3,000 by 2011 by expanding in the Middle East, Persian Gulf and Eastern Europe.

The business, which has 1,243 stores in 43 countries, has opened a string of franchises in the Netherlands and is planning an assault on the UK (Retail Week, September 29).

In a statement, Cortefiel, which trades mainly through its Springfield and Women's Secret brands internationally, said it had signed franchise deals to open 15 stores in the Balkans, a further 15 in the Persian Gulf - including Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates - and five in Egypt.

The move by Spain's second-largest retailer comes after rival Inditex, which owns the Zara chain in the UK, last week announced it was to open its 3,000th store worldwide.