LONDON — BCBG Max Azria is the latest U.S. label to target London’s retail scene. The contemporary brand has opened a 3,200-square-foot store on Kings Road, near Comptoir des Cotonniers, Hoss Intropia and Whistles.

This story first appeared in the May 10, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“We have opened a store of the right size, in the right place,” said Max Azria, chief executive officer and designer for BCBG Max Azria Group.

The store is operated by HLUK, a holdings company initially set up to expand the BCBG Max Azria Group in the U.K., though president Masha Markova also plans to invest in labels outside the group. The company operates the Hervé Léger by Max Azria store in London’s Knightsbridge, which opened in October. Markova said the Kings Road is “very appropriate for what the BCBG brand represents.…I didn’t even look anywhere else.”

The store is done out to give “a clean feel…appropriate to London,” Markova said, with polished wood floors, stainless steel fixtures and white leather sofas. Markova said the store would focus on the higher end of BCBG’s offer, such as dresses in “strong, bright colors,” which she said would appeal to women in their late teens through those in their 40s.

Prices in the store will range from 40 pounds, or $59 at current exchange, for jersey pieces, to 1,000 pounds, or $1,150, for a sequin evening dress, while most dresses will retail for around 300 pounds, or $440. Markova said the sales target for the store is at least 2.5 million pounds, or $3.7 million, in the first year.

And, following the strong performance of Hervé Léger’s London store, which Markova said is trading “above targets,” the company plans to expand the labels further outside the U.S. “From my point of view, BCBG Group has a lot to say in the U.K.,” said Azria. Markova is looking for more BCBG locations in the U.K., and plans to launch Hervé Léger stores in Hong Kong and China.

Azria said he wasn’t daunted by opening in London in a difficult economic time. “The consumer is more wise [during these times],” he said.

Markova, meanwhile, said she’d been able to negotiate a better rent because of the downturn. The store officially will open with a party on May 27. As the company is known for its celebrity following in the U.S., BCBG plans to invite stars who are in Europe for the Cannes Film Festival to the launch.

Meanwhile, Azria addressed recent reports that BCBG Max Azria Group is for sale, saying the company was instead looking for a “minority partner in order to go forward.”

“It can be a strategic alliance, a financial investor,” Azria continued. “It could [be in] one day or one year. I’m relaxed — I’m not in a hurry at all.”

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