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Björn Borg to open series of UK stores

Underwear label Björn Borg is to open the first of a planned series of standalone UK stores in the spring amid hopes of doubling brand sales in the coming year.

It is looking at a location on Carnaby Street, London, and hopes to open there or in Covent Garden by February or March. Björn Borg already has 50 standalone stores in Europe, including 30 in Holland.

The first store will be about 860 sq ft and will stock the brand’s complete collection, from underwear to footwear, which will be new  for spring 12. Clothing will launch for autumn 12.

UK managing director Callum Sneddon said the brand aimed to open two stores in London, one in Brighton and one in either Manchester or Birmingham over the next two to three years.

“We don’t want to become a retailer, but we think it’s important for the brand to have a retail presence,” Sneddon added.

Björn Borg generates total sales of £1m a year in the UK at the moment, but Sneddon said it plans to double this over the next year and increase it to £8m in the next four years, with its wholesale business a prime area for expansion.

The brand has 100 accounts in the UK. It is stocked in Selfridges, House of Fraser and Harvey Nichols, but is launching in John Lewis for autumn 11. Its indie stockists include men’s young fashion retailer Fallen Hero in Scunthorpe and St Albans womens- wear indie The Dressing Room.

Björn Borg will focus on adding premium indie accounts in large cities such as Glasgow, Newcastle and Manchester, with the aim of reaching 400 UK stockists in the next four years.

Men’s underwear accounts for 90% of Björn Borg sales. But Sneddon said women’s underwear would be a key growth area.

He said recent trade had been strong and next year’s Olympics could prove fruitful: “There will be an influx of tourists which will be great for us, especially in London.”

The brand will exhibit at mainstream trade show Moda for the first time this month. Moda runs from August 14-16 at Birmingham NEC.

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