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LONDON — Intimissimi, the Italian lingerie brand known for its affordable, high-quality lingerie collections in silk, lace and cotton, is increasing its presence in the U.K.

The 11-year-old brand, which is owned by the Italian hosiery and swimwear company Calzedonia, opened a 1,300-square-foot flagship on London’s bustling shopping thoroughfare Oxford Street last year, adding to a 1,000-square-foot boutique that bowed on King’s Road in Chelsea last fall. Intimissimi also operates stores in Harrow and Reading, outside London. The brand is sold in 809 stores in several countries, including Spain, Mexico, Poland and Croatia, and through in-store boutiques in Victoria’s Secret in the U.S.

“Oxford Street enjoys all-day [retail] traffic and this means maximum exposure to consumers, including the huge tourist footfall [on the street],” an Intimissimi spokesman said. “For us, this location is like announcing, ‘We have arrived.’ It’s a message to the market.”

The flagship sits at the east end of Oxford Street, near Uniqlo, Claire’s Accessories, La Senza and Hennes & Mauritz. With simple cream walls, pale wood fittings and soft lighting, the spokesman said the store was designed to evoke “the consumer’s bedroom…a feeling of relaxation.”

The unit features Intimissimi’s entire collection, including bras, panties, sleepwear, jersey tops and a collection of men’s underwear. Prices range from about $16 for a pair of cotton or lace panties to $108 for a silk robe. Silk bras are priced at about $34. The company projects first-year sales of $1.96 million at the store, the spokesman said. He added there are plans to open more stores in the U.K. Its four existing units in the U.K. are operated by the Mizzi family, a private franchisee.

“We want to go ahead with the growth and further development of the Intimissimi brand in London and around the U.K.,” said the spokesman, who noted the company also plans to launch the Calzedonia brand of hosiery and swimwear in the U.K. this year, as well as the Tezenis brand.

Tezenis is the company’s latest lingerie brand, which specializes in basic pieces with an urban feel.

In the U.S., Calzedonia operates 150 Intimissimi in-store shops in Victoria’s Secret stores through a deal with Limited Brands signed in 2005. As part of the agreement, the company plans to launch a line of Intimissimi beauty products with Victoria’s Secret in the U.S this year. The spokesman said the firm also aims to open 80 additional in-store shops this year, and total 235 by the end of 2007.

This story first appeared in the January 29, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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