Italian designer jeans brand Jfour is to open its first UK standalone shop tomorrow and is gearing up for a rapid expansion in this country.

Fashion entrepreneur Robert de Keyser will open the shop in Walton-on-Thames in Surrey and is gunning to open up to 13 by the end of the year.

De Keyser has hired Rowland Gee – a former Moss Bros non-executive director and a member of one of the retailer’s founding families – as retail director to step up the expansion. He has been a non-executive director of De Keyser’s eponymous investment company since 2003 and remains in this position, while also taking up his new role at Jfour.

Gee said: “We’re on a big retail push. We want to be less reliant on our wholesale business and be more the masters of our own destiny, and there are tremendous property deals to be done.”

Jfour has also signed deals at St David’s centre in Cardiff, as well as Liverpool One and Belfast.

Gee added that he was also in negotiations for a further tranche of shops around the UK including Glasgow, Livingston, Aberdeen and Bluewater, all of which are expected to open by the end of the year.

Typical Jfour stores are around 800 to 1,200 sq ft and Gee said he was looking for a mixture of high street and shopping centre sites.

De Keyser has brought several other fashion brands to the UK including Rock Couture, Rock & Republic, Lipsy and Jovani.

Gee said that De Keyser wants to open further standalone stores for its other brands in the UK too.

One of these, Rock Couture, trades in both shopping centres and factory outlets. Last year it took a store at the Mailbox in Birmingham, adding to its factory outlet stores which includes Bicester Village in Oxfordshire and most recently Gloucester Quays.

St David’s shopping centre developers Capital Shopping Centres and Land Securities have also signed Quicksilver and Fat Face to the scheme. The scheme’s agents are Cushman & Wakefield, Lunson Mitchenall and E J Hales.