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ROME — Following its recent opening here on the bustling Via del Corso thoroughfare, LTB by Littlebig is set to roll out 35 stores across Europe in the next three years.

The Turkish jeans manufacturer opened its first Italian store earlier this fall on one of Rome’s most trafficked streets, where Energie, Replay and Diesel, as well as Zara and Italian department store Rinascente have units.

Although Littlebig’s parent company, CAK Tekstil, has been producing denim for more than 50 years, the label is a newcomer to the Italian market.

“We have a lot of customers coming in and just asking us about the name and where it comes from,” said Leyla Sadiker, manager of the Rome store.

The two-level, 1,200-square-foot store sells Littlebig’s women’s and men’s collections. Jeans range from 110 euros, or $133, to 130 euros, or $157. Cropped wool, angora and nylon cardigans retail for 39.95 euros, or $47.95. Cotton polos that feature Littlebig’s crab insignia sell for 34.95 euros, or $41.95. All figures are converted at current exchange rates.

The collection is produced in Littlebig’s factory at its Istanbul headquarters which, according to Barbara Gay of Littlebig’s design team, allows for quick reassortment of merchandise.

“We’re able to anticipate what the market wants and continually deliver flash collections to meet those needs,” said Gay.

For Littlebig, Rome is just the start of an aggressive rollout plan to bolster its name recognition.

“Our stores are our windows to reach out to our customers,” Asken Erald, Littlebig’s European managing director, said in a phone interview from the company’s European distribution center in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

In the past year, Littlebig has opened stores in Amsterdam; Bucharest, Romania; Cologne, Germany, and Moscow. Erald said units in Paris, Barcelona, Munich and London are expected to open in the next year.

All stores are company owned and Erald said Littlebig’s smaller stores are expected to do annual sales of between 1.2 million euros, or $1.4 million, to 1.5 million euros, or $1.8 million. Larger boutiques, such as the one set to open on the Champs-Elysée next year, should generate annual revenues of 2.2 million euros, or $2.6 million.

This story first appeared in the October 27, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Erald said Littlebig’s European wholesale business should reach 128 million euros, or $153.6 million, in revenue this year, adding that Germany and the Benelux countries and Scandinavia are its top markets.

While it is pursuing traditional advertising venues, Erald said Littlebig also was involved in various reality shows and was set to sponsor one in Germany next year.

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