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Galeries Lafayette progresses with move into China

French department store group Galeries Lafayette has reportedly entered a joint venture with fashion retail company IT to open stores in China, three years after the companies signed an informal agreement.

Galeries Lafayette has created a joint venture with Hong-Kong based IT and will open the first department store in Beijing in 2013. Openings are expected in more than a dozen other cities, including Shanghai and Chengdu, according to reports. The two parties originally signed an informal agreement in December 2007 to set up stores across China.

The store, which will be 194,000 sq ft, will open in the city’s Xidan commercial district.

Under the terms of the joint venture, in which both firms will own a 50% stake, IT will invest a maximum of about HK$ 150m (£12.3m) in the first store, according to reports.

Galeries Lafayette operates 61 stores worldwide. In 1991, it opened an 80,000sq ft store in the Trump Tower in New York, which closed three years later due to poor sales. In 1996 Galeries Lafayette opened a branch in Berlin.

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