Spanish fashion giant Inditex plans to roll out its lesser-known brands including Pull and Bear and Bershka across the UK this year.
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Dilip Patel, UK managing director of Inditex, which also operates the Zara brand, declined to say how many stores the retailer would open but said: “Our focus [this year] will be developing our less well-known brands like Pull and Bear and Bershka.”
Patel said Pull and Bear’s success in Liverpool, where it debuted in 2008, showed there was a regional appetite for the casualwear chain.
Stablemate Pull and Bear also has four stores, in Belfast and two in the capital as well as its Liverpool store.
Inditex’s menswear brand Massimo Dutti, which operates 11 UK stores, could be another expansion opportunity for the retailer, although Patel did not comment on the chain specifically.
Fast fashion chain Zara has traditionally been Inditex’s UK focus. The high street staple has 65 stores across the UK and Patel did not rule out opening more.
Retail Week Knowledge Bank director Robert Clark said he was surprised Inditex had not developed the lesser-known formats earlier.
Clark said: “They are clearly acceptable brands for the UK market. There is a great opportunity there, especially for Pull and Bear.”
In Spain, Inditex has 287 Pull and Bear stores and 262 Bershka stores alongside 333 Zara stores. Clark added that Zara, which has been operating in the UK for more than a decade, had not expanded as quickly as expected.
He said: “Zara should have more stores by now. It should be twice the size it is in the UK by now.”
However, the fashion giant has expanded rapidly internationally. Its net profit soared 42% to e1.2bn (£1.04bn) worldwide in the nine months to October 31 while EBITDA jumped 33% to e2.1bn (£1.82bn) as it opened 300 new stores.