PARIS — Comptoir des Cotonniers has opened a 1,500-square-foot Paris flagship on picturesque Place Saint-Sulpice, taking over the historic site of an Yves Saint Laurent men’s store.

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“We kept the facade,” said Marianne Romestain, managing director of the fast-growing contemporary chain. “It took us a good couple of years to secure this space.”

The boutique, opening today, was designed by Italian architect Antonio Virga and boasts a mini library and seven fitting rooms, including one for the disabled. “The concept for the store reflects the brand — it’s about women, specifically the French woman in her Left Bank apartment,” said Romestain.

Romestain came on board when Comptoir was acquired in 2005 by Japanese conglomerate Fast Fashion Retailing, parent of Uniqlo and lingerie brand Princesse Tam Tam.

Romestain said 2009 revenues at Comptoir des Cotonniers should total 225 million euros, or $331 million at current exchange. “We are hoping to increase this by 10 percent in 2010,” she added.

Comptoir des Cotonniers operates 229 stores in France, 107 in the rest of Europe, four in Korea, 34 in Japan and two in New York. “Next year we hope to open a couple more stores in Manhattan, around Bleecker Street, Columbus Avenue and possibly the Hamptons,” said Romestain.

Romestain attributed the chain’s rapid growth to a fashion formula based on simplicity, affordability and a wardrobe for both mothers and daughters. Its trenchcoat, retailing at 185 euros, or about $272 at current exchange, is the bestselling item.

As well as global retail expansion, online is proving an important part of the company’s business. “We have just relaunched our Web site, but will be restructuring it again in spring to fit around our blog,” she added.

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