By  on May 3, 2006

NEW YORK — Get ready America: Topshop is on its way.

British retail tycoon Philip Green wants to make his mark in the U.S. and a Topshop flagship could open in New York as soon as next spring. He already has his eyes on a site, but declined to reveal details beyond saying it is 60,000 to 90,000 square feet in size.

"If we enter here, we're not going to be low-key," assured Green, the flamboyant billionaire owner of Arcadia, parent of Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Miss Selfridge and department store British Home Stores.

Green has noticed the inroads other European retailers have made in the U.S. and wants a part of it. "Every retailer's dream is to build a global brand. Look at what Zara and H&M have done. That's exciting," Green said.

In addition, Mexx, owned by Liz Claiborne, is rolling out in the U.S., while Spanish retailer Mango is eyeing the American market.

But Green is aware of the pitfalls and is in no rush. He stressed that a successful foray into the U.S. requires plenty of planning and getting everything in order: obtaining the right real estate, finding a local partner or company that would be critical in the logistics, staffing and back-office functions and even buying a cargo plane to ensure proper merchandise flow.

"We are not a public company. We can afford to take a longer view to get it right," Green said.

A local partner for back-end functions and logistics is key, however. "Can we do here what we do in the U.K., which is deliver fresh merchandise three times a day at peak periods? We want to execute at the same level here we do there, and that means we need a partner here. We will pay the $20, $30, $40 or $50 million needed [to open stores here], but we don't want to fail."

Topshop operates about 290 stores, including the flagship, at Oxford Circus in London. There is also the Topman chain for men, operating 165 stores.

And America isn't the only market outside the U.K. that Green is eyeing for Topshop. He admitted he is scouting for sites in Europe, as well. "But it's harder to find sites of the size we need in Paris," he said, indicating America was his first priority.

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