British retailer Debenhams has announced it is to strengthen its foothold in the Baltic market by opening two stores in Latvia and Estonia. Based in Riga and Tallinn, the new stores are a further step towards one of the retailer’s key growth pillars to expand the brand internationally.
Debenhams will bring the department store concept to Latvia with its first store in March 2014, in one of the two biggest shopping centres in Riga, Spice. The shopping centre currently boasts more than 150 shops, services and catering facilities covering 77,000 sq metres.
The retailer will also open a store in Tallinn in Autumn 2014 which will sit over two floors of the new Panorama City shopping centre - the largest fashion and family entertainment centre in Estonia. This marks Debenhams’ second opening in Tallinn, where it will be opening its first store in September this year at the Rocca al Mare shopping centre.
Franchisee Juergen Roehlinger and leading real estate development company, E.L.L. Real Estate, will manage Debenhams’ Baltic openings.
Debenhams International Director Francis McAuley says: “We're delighted to continue our growth in the Baltics with our franchise partner and to be opening our first store in Riga. This is a dynamic, growing region which is currently under represented in the department store sector.
“We will bring our unique department store retailing experience with our strength in exclusive fashion brands and focus on designer ranges at high street prices. “We see this as another opportunity in our strategic relationship with E.L.L. Real Estate Group, who have demonstrated their vision and ability to deliver a world class shopping mall."
Debenhams plan to open six stores in total in the Baltic states, creating more than 200 jobs. The retailer will bring its famous Designers at Debenhams portfolio of brands to the market, with top designers including Henry Holland, Jasper Conran, Julien MacDonald, John Rocha, Matthew Williamson and Ben de Lisi.
Aldo Dapon, Chairman of the Board of E.L.L. Real Estate says: “Debenhams has a leading international department stores concept. They have fantastic experience in opening stores internationally. I am delighted that we will be working with Debenhams to open stores in both Estonia and Latvia. This agreement ties in with E.L.L. Real Estate’s strategy to bring new and exciting brands into our shopping centres.”
Vaiva Kirvelaite, Debenhams’ Brand Manager in the Baltics says: “Debenhams has been expanding internationally very successfully. As the investors, we see many possibilities in the Baltic market and an opportunity to bring new brands and the best of British design here.
“We are proud to offer the Debenhams mix of exclusive designers at great value prices to the Estonian and Latvian public, bringing the UK high street experience here for the first time.” Debenhams aims to increase its number of international franchise stores to 150 over the next five years.