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London store kicks off Desa’s UK push

Turkish premium womenswear and accessories retailer Desa has fired the starting gun on an aggressive international roll-out of its wholesale and retail business, to include 18 UK stores.

Desa, which has 60 company-owned stores in Turkey and a franchise store in Saudi Arabia, will open a 1,000 sq ft store in Hampstead in north London in late September, followed by a 1,600 sq ft store in Slingsby Place in London’s Covent Garden in mid-October. The latter will be its UK flagship.

The retailer plans to open a further four UK stores by the end of 2011, building up to 18 in the next four years.

“We’re looking at sites in Brompton Cross [southwest London], Guildford, Winchester and Bath,” said Desa head of projects and retail Brian Campbell-Kearsey. “We’ll look at London and the Southeast for spring 11 then at northern cities like Manchester and Leeds for autumn.”

Desa will launch a transactional UK website in late September. Its current website is in Turkish and delivers only to Turkey.

The retailer, which has set up a London office under its new business division Desa International Retail to handle the expansion, also plans to open stores in European cities including Paris, Amsterdam and Milan - the Paris and Amsterdam stores will open in 2012.

Desa will also target the UK with its wholesale collection before rolling it out in the US and the rest of Europe. “We would like wholesale relationships before opening stores in the US to raise brand awareness,” said Campbell-Kearsey.

A wholesale collection will also be launched in the UK with four key stockists for autumn 11. Wholesale prices will range from £50 to £250.

Desa has both retail and manufacturing arms in Turkey and holds Turkish licences for brands including DKNY Jeans. UK wholesale will mark the first time the company has sold its collection to third parties.

“We will probably link with independents initially, as we want partners who will take the whole collection and work closely with us on merchandising to establish the brand image,” added Campbell-Kearsey.

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