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H&M, Uniqlo Expand to New Markets

The Swedish chain will open in South Africa while the Japanese brand will set up shop in Germany.

Two of fast fashion’s biggest players are plotting their geographic expansion to new markets.

Hennes & Mauritz said Thursday that it has signed a contract to open its first flagship in South Africa in 2015 at the earliest. H&M chief executive officer Karl-Johan Persson said the brand sees “great potential for further expansion in this region.”

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Meanwhile, Fast Retailing Co. Ltd.’s Uniqlo said Thursday it plans to open a 29,000-square-foot flagship in Berlin’s Tauentzienstrasse shopping district next spring. The store will mark the brand’s entry to the German market and give it a presence in a fourth European country after the U.K., France and Russia.

“Uniqlo is a giant globally, but we are still a challenger brand in Europe. We have been focusing our presence in Paris, London and Moscow, and we are enjoying attractive growth rates despite a commercially demanding environment,” said Berndt Hauptkorn, Fast Retailing’s group officer and Uniqlo Europe ceo. “The opening of our Berlin store marks a step-change for us. The German-speaking market will offer great opportunities for Uniqlo, as well as other major markets and cities we are considering across Europe, including Barcelona and Milan.”