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More foreign retail competition on the way

By Tiffany Montgomery
July 29, 2008 5:45 AM

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting story today about international retailers taking advantage of the weak dollar and anxious landlords to expand aggressively in the U.S.

We all know about H&M, with 156 stores in the U.S., which will open a total of 38 stores this fiscal year. Also expanding are Zara and Mango from Spain, Germany's Bogner, Russia's Kira Plastinina, Iceland's Kisan, Japan's Muji and Britain's Topshop.

South Korean chain Who.A.U., which claims to sell the "California Lifestyle," is going after Hollister, the Journal reports. Who.A.U. hopes to have 450 stores in the U.S. in the next 10 years.

Who.A.U.'s clothes look more East Coast preppy ala Abercrombie & Fitch rather than West Coast casual judging by the photos on the company's website. Who.A.U. has one store open in Connecticut and another slated to open in August in New Jersey.

Also of note, Canadian chain Garage, which sounds like a pretty clever concept aimed at teen girls. Here's a pretty good story about the chain and the company behind it.

According to the Wall Street Journal story, malls looking for new concepts are giving international retailers the good deals typically reserved for top tenants. Plus, vacancy rates are up due to the slow economy and landlords need to fill the storefronts.


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