Real estate group Land Securities is looking to fill retail space in a number of its high profile shopping centres following the closure of all stores owned by leading Spanish fashion retailer Grupo Cortefiel.
The property company announced today that, through its subsidiary Brand Empire, it has ended an agreement with the Iberian firm after the business failed to establish its brands, Cortefiel, Springfield and Women’Secret, in the UK during the last 14 months.
Grupo Cortefiel’s brands were present in Land Securities’ One New Change, which opened in The City of London in October 2010, as well as the White Rose Centre in Leeds, The Centre in Livingston and St David’s in Cardiff, but all eight stores it operated have now closed.
The first of the fashion stores opened in September 2010 after Brand Empire was set up to act as “an incubator to attract new entrants to the UK market to help evolve the retail offer”.
Land Sec’s subsidiary invested in the stores and employees, while the Spanish retailer retained control of the product and brand marketing.
Juan Carlos Escribano, CEO of Grupo Cortefiel, said that his company still has ambitions to break into the UK market despite the setback of store closures.
“Our brands … are already present in over 60 countries around the world, and opening stores in the UK is one of our obvious next steps,” he explained.
“Our group remains fully committed to expand in this market. This innovative arrangement with Brand Empire was a good opportunity to test the UK market while reducing some of the risks usually encountered when entering a new market.”
Although remaining positive, Escribano acknowledged that the difficult trading environment in the UK was one of the main factors behind the breakdown in its partnership with Land Securities.
Land Securities said today that it has already received expressions of interest for the store space in the affected locations.