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Aftershock kick starts expansion strategy

Aftershock, the occasionwear and accessories brand, plans to open concessions in UK department stores and expand overseas to escape the high retail rents that put the business into administration in 2006.

Target overseas markets for the brand include countries in the Middle East and Commonwealth of Independent States plus Gibraltar and the Latin Americas.

Aftershock fell into administration in 2006 and most of its 12 UK stores were returned to landlords. The wholesale business was subsequently rescued.

Aftershock chairman Hiro Harjani said: "There have been a number of failures in the retail sector in the past two years mostly due to high rents and rates, and a failing UK economy. For small independents it is commercial suicide to open retail stores in the UK and try to scale up. The only sensible route seems to be the concessions route if your product and brand stands up. The business environment is going to get much tougher in the coming year. The safe bet therefore is to avoid high rental stores and go via concessions where you will get the footfall and where the investment and the over head route are much lower."

Aftershock creative director Dheeraj Harjani added: "We are opening own stores and franchises abroad because we are entering emerging markets and not saturated markets as is the case in the UK. These markets such as: India, the Middle East and CIS countries have still got a lot of steam to go so it is a first mover advantage."

Aftershock already has a presence in the UK, Spain, Italy, Russia, Sweden, India, the US, South Africa, Egypt, Libya and the United Arab Emirates.

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