Cortefiel determined to emulate Inditex?s success in Britain
Spain's second biggest fashion retailer Cortefiel is finalising plans to enter the UK market.

The fast-growing retailer, which has 1,300 stores in 43 countries, wants to bring its multi-branded fashion business to this country next year.

Cortefiel's move follows the success of other Spanish fashion retailers in the UK - notably Inditex, Zara's parent, which has 60 stores here and last week revealed global sales up 23 per cent to E3.5 billion (£2.35 billion) in the six months to July.

'UK shoppers have a strong affiliation with Spanish fashion brands and we have had a positive reaction to our other stores in northern Europe,' said a Cortefiel spokesman.

The retailer, which is backed by private equity groups PAI, CVC and Permira, broke the E1 billion (£671.9 million) sales barrier last year. The owners have plans to grow the business aggressively and in July announced plans to open 33 stores in India.

The initial focus of expansion in the UK is likely to be the Springfield fascia, which has traditionally been a young fashion brand for men and is the Spanish market leader in the category.

The range has been expanded into womenswear this year and rolled out to all 43 countries in which the group operates.

However, the private-equity backed group has also successfully exported its Women'Secret lingerie business abroad and plans to expand its Cortefiel fascia into global markets.

The move into the UK is likely to be through franchising, with both standalone stores and department store concessions on the agenda.

There are already 250 Springfield and Women'Secret franchise stores globally and director of franchising Alex Cara is set to launch a push for new franchise deals when he speaks at the first World Retail Congress in Barcelona in March.

Experts said that while Cortefiel has a strong position in many of its existing markets, the UK would be its biggest challenge.

Management Horizons chief executive George Wallace said: 'It is a very well-run business, but it won't come in and have the sensational fashion edge that Zara did when it came in.'