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BCBG Max Azria eyes 60 stores in UK retail push

BCBG Max Azria, the contemporary womenswear label owned by the US fashion group of the same name, is to open its first UK store in south-west London, kicking off a wider UK retail push.

The 3,230 sq ft BCBG Max Azria franchise store will open at 23-25 King’s Road on April 21 and follows the success of the group’s first UK store for sister luxury brand Hérve Léger, which opened in London’s Belgravia in September.

BCBG Max Azria Group chief executive Max Azria said: “I’d like 60 stores for Hérve Léger and BCBG in the UK and that could be possible within three years.”

The UK stores will be operated by HLUK, a franchise company set up by Russian ex-model Masha Markova and Adolfo de Alvarado, formerly of Gucci Group and Versace.

The BCBG Max Azria label has 349 standalone stores and 229 concessions worldwide and Hérve Léger has 15 standalones. In the UK, Hérve Léger has four wholesale accounts with Harrods, Selfridges, London designer indie Matches and etailer Net-a-Porter, while BCBG Max Azria is stocked in selected Harvey Nichols and House of Fraser stores. Dresses retail for between $228 (£149) and $478 (£312).

Markova, who is president of HLUK, said the company would open further UK stores in 2011. “We will open several stores in London to establish the brands before looking to other major UK cities,” she said.

She added that HLUK had recouped its investment in the Hérve Léger store, where sales had grown by about 20% month on month, within just three months - ahead of schedule.

She said there was the potential to replicate the success the brands have had in the US, where BCBG Max Azria has 212 stores and Hérve Léger has 12.

Azria said the group, which also owns the Max Azria collection - an upmarket sister brand to BCBG Max Azria - and young contemporary lifestyle brand BCBGeneration, will grow its wholesale presence in the UK in 2011 once the retail stores had boosted consumer awareness of the brands.

UK sales and distribution are handled by the firm’s Paris office.

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