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Michael Kors plots seven UK openings

US luxury womenswear and accessories business Michael Kors is embarking on a Europe-wide retail roll-out in a bid to increase sales and raise brand awareness.

The company aims to open seven UK standalone stores in the next three years as part of wider plans to reach 25 stores across Europe. Following its second UK opening on Regent Street in London next month it will target Westfield London and UK cities including Manchester, Glasgow and Liverpool.

Chief executive John Idol said: “We have a presence in the most powerful European cities, but we need to increase brand awareness with stores in cities in the next tier, such as Barcelona and Manchester.”

The 5,800 sq ft Regent Street store will be the brand’s fifth European store and its UK flagship. It will stock the eponymous mainline as well as diffusion line Michael by Michael Kors. The business is set to have a total of 25 stores across Europe by 2013.

Idol said turnover had grown by at least 25% each year for the past four years and was on target to hit $1bn (£628m) in 2010. He said: “We didn’t experience the global downturn because affordable luxury is our niche. With Michael by Michael Kors, you can pick up a beautiful designer handbag for $300 [£188].”

Retail accounts for 50% of Michael Kors’ turnover but Idol said that would increase to 65% by 2013.

“Wholesale is still important, but we need a strategic collection of own-brand stores to raise brand awareness among consumers,” he added.

Michael Kors will launch its menswear range into Harrods later this month - its first presence in the UK. The luxury department store will have UK wholesale exclusivity for the collection for one year.

Michael Kors has 25 wholesale accounts in the UK, including Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Net-a-Porter and selected indies.

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