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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lauren to Open Stores In Moscow

bloombergRalph Lauren hopes its two stores will tap into the demand for luxury goods.
Polo Ralph Lauren, the maker of Ralph Lauren and Club Monaco clothes, will open its first two stores in Moscow next month to tap rising demand for luxury goods in the city.

The stores will operate under a franchise agreement with Russia's Mercury Group, Maria Goncharova, a spokeswoman for Mercury, said Tuesday.

The first, an 800-square-meter, three-story outlet, will open on Tretyakovsky Proyezd, a street of luxury shops in the center of the city. The second, slightly smaller store will be in Mercury's Barvikha Luxury Village, she said.

The country's $270 billion retail market might grow as much as 17 percent per year over the next two years as economic growth drives spending, according to Fashion Consulting Group, a Moscow-based research group. Luxury goods make up 10 percent of retail sales in Russia, the world's most promising market after China, Anna Lebsak-Kleimans, president of Fashion Consulting, said Feb. 28.

"Opening stores in Russia is much more than just part of the company's strategy, it's a real pleasure," chairman Ralph Lauren said in a statement. "A Russian customer will get an opportunity to see my view of the world for the first time."

Polo Ralph Lauren's move to Russia follows LVMH M?et Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world's biggest luxury-goods maker, and PPR, the owner of Gucci Group. Foreign companies often enter Russia through franchise agreements before opening directly owned stores.

Polo Ralph Lauren's European sales rose 8.4 percent last year to $627.7 million, contributing 17 percent of total revenue.

The store on Tretyakovsky Proyezd will have brick walls designed to match those of the Kremlin, the statement said. The first two floors will sell women's clothing, including Black and Blue Label, as well as accessories, and the third floor will have menswear brands including Purple Label, Black Label, Polo and RRL, Polo said.