By  on April 14, 2011

Arturo Calle, a men’s fashion chain based in Colombia, will add five additional stores by 2012 as it strives to maintain its lead in the country’s fast-growing men’s wear market.

The first two will open later this year in Bogota and Cali, followed by three more in Cali, Medellín and Armenia in 2012. This will bring the retailer’s network to 62 stores around the country.

In an interview with WWD, owner Arturo Calle said the company is also eyeing expansion into international markets in late 2012, and is viewing the possibility of opening franchised units in South or Central America.

The chain, which was founded in 1965 and sells everything from suits and sweaters to T-shirts, jeans and underwear, is preparing to open its largest store to date, a 6,562-square-foot flagship in Bogota’s upscale Colina Campestre neighborhood, in June. The location will also house the company’s headquarters.

The privately held company declined to provide a volume figure but said sales should grow 8 percent to 10 percent annually by 2016, according to Calle.

Colombia’s men’s wear market is growing strongly as men’s purchasing power rises in a booming economy. Men’s sales rose 4 percent last year and now account for 44 percent of the country’s business. This year, the men’s market is forecast to grow 5 percent to $2.5 million.

“We have seen the market take off in recent years as Colombian men have become more attuned to fashion and are demanding more premium and lifestyle products,” said Paula Trujillo, director of competitiveness and internationalization at the Institute for Export and Fashion Inexmoda. “We have a very dynamic economy and rising consumer confidence and appetite for fashion,” she added. Forecasts put Colombia’s GDP growth at 4 percent to 5 percent in 2011.

According to Trujillo, Calle’s main rival, Vestimundo, is also pursuing an ambitious domestic and international expansion, as is sportswear chain Tennis.

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