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Steve Madden ready to set foot in the UK

US footwear brand Steve Madden is to debut in the UK after joining forces with a distribution partner.

The $500 million business has teamed up with OPS to launch into UK stores for spring 08.

OPS, which is based in Camden, north London, and owns the Last footwear brand, has entered into a four-year deal with Steve Madden. OPS managing director Tim Cooper said that managing distribution would be key to its success.

"We are looking at about 10 accounts by spring 08. We want to keep to a limited number of retailers," he said. "We will look at department stores and quality independents with critical mass."

OPS will distribute five Steve Madden brands, which it will show at the Micam trade show this September. They are the core womenswear range featuring urban, formal and casual styles; Madden Girl, aimed at the teenage market; premium trend-led offer Steven; fashion comfort brand Natural Comfort; and sneaker-inspired brand Fix. Wholesale prices will range from £7 to £35.

The product will be tailored to the UK market.

Founder Steve Madden believed that the product would go down well with UK consumers. He said: "There is a big New York, London connection. We sell shoes to women that like to have a good time, and they are everywhere."

The UK is the retailer's second biggest market online, after the US.

Steve Madden had previously been sold with a very limited distribution in the UK, but this will be the first time the brand has launched a concerted UK operation.

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