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Aronsson’s New Turkish Venture

Aronsson Group co-founder Jeffry Aronsson's aim is to create new retail concepts and boost distribution.

Building on a portfolio that includes stakes in Matthew Williamson, Ginny H. and Casall, Aronsson Group formed a joint venture partnership with Istanbul-based retail consultancy firm AKS.

This story first appeared in the April 7, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

As part of the agreement, the venture, called A&A Group, aims to create new retail concepts and expand the distribution for Aronsson’s portfolio brands with strategic partners. Aronsson Group co-founder Jeffry Aronsson completed the details in Istanbul, where he met with AKS principal Nur Akgerman last week.

Aronsson said he first met Akgerman 12 years ago in Istanbul, when Aronsson was chief executive officer of Oscar de la Renta, and she was ceo of Beymen Department Store Group.

“As the Aronsson Group business developed, I began a dialogue with Ms. Akgerman from which we both recognized the synergies of our abilities, experience, relationships and projects,” he noted. “I was invited by Ms. Akgerman to Istanbul to discuss how we could work together, to become reacquainted with retail in Turkey.”

While there, he also met many of her friends and clients in fields such as international textiles, production, department and specialty store retailing, real estate and food.

Aronsson said although it is too early to disclose specific plans for A&A, he hopes it will yield “new innovative concepts for sustainable retailing, marketing, and global expansion.”

Linking Europe and Asia, he said Turkey offers opportunity even in this difficult global economic climate. However, Aronsson stressed he was primarily drawn to Akgerman’s “business and retail acumen coupled with a deep and extensive international business network.”

“Turkey is the crossroads of the Western and Eastern cultures and trade,” Aronsson noted. “Add to this almost 30 million tourists per year, and it is a great potential window for businesses looking to do business locally and beyond.”