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Fat Face rides the wave into Asia

Fat Face is to enter the Far East through franchise stores in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia as it targets overseas growth.

The outdoor activity-inspired clothing retailer aims to open 13 stores with local franchise partner Robinson and Company in the next five years.

Fat Face International development director Alison Holmes said the area's "active lifestyle" ethos fitted the retailer's target market, adding that Singapore's island location meant it had a large watersports community. Other boardsports brands such as Rip Curl, Timberland and Roxy already have a presence in the Far Eastern market.

Fat Face will not produce specific merchandise for local Asian customers, who tend to buy smaller sizes, as it already stocks women's size six and above for its UK consumers.

Robinson will open two stores in Kuala Lumpur and one in Singapore this autumn, with Hong Kong and Indonesia also earmarked as expansion targets. The company also holds the franchise for Marks & Spencer in Singapore and Malaysia.

Robinson chief executive John Cheston said: "There is a huge opportunity for a lifestyle brand such as Fat Face in Asia."

Fat Face was acquired by private equity house Bridgepoint for £360 million in March. It has franchise stores in Dubai and Kuwait.

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