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Billionaire Philip Green Eyes Brazil, China for Topshop Chain

Green is discussing four or five locations in the U.S.
The billionaire owner of Arcadia Group Ltd. Sir Philip Green pauses during a television interview at his new Topshop store in London. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

May 21 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. retailing billionaire Philip Green will open stores of his Topshop fashion chain in Brazil and China as he looks to new markets to drive growth.

“I think we’ll go to China in the next year” after reaching an agreement a week ago to enter Brazil, the 58-year-old owner of Arcadia Group Ltd., said in a Bloomberg Television interview at his new store in London’s Knightsbridge shopping district. “We’ve been working on Hong Kong for quite a while and we’ll expand in America.”

Green, who opened the three-story Topshop outlet selling 85-pound ($122) floral jumpsuits opposite Harrods on May 19, said he’s discussing four or five locations in the U.S., including sites in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago. The retailer opened its first Manhattan store last year and is spending 80 million pounds to 90 million pounds a year on new projects, he said.

“If you want to create a global brand, you’ve got to be able to create location,” he said of the new London outlet and added that “we’re in exploratory mode” in the U.S. Topshop will also probably open in San Francisco and Las Vegas, he said.

Green’s Arcadia owns U.K. fashion brands Wallis, Evans and Dorothy Perkins. It also owns retail chains including BHS department stores, and Green said he would consider buying other chains.

“We have a lot of firepower to do it,” Green said. “We’re not heavily geared.”

BHS

Green, who made an unsuccessful attempt to acquire Marks & Spencer Group Plc in 2004, is adding brands such as Wallis and Burton to the BHS stores to drive sales and create “more of a department store feel,” he said. Profit has advanced 30 percent at the outlets involved in the revamp, carried out by Chief Operating Officer Ian Grabiner. Green would “definitely not” sell BHS, he added.

While the British billionaire’s show-business joint venture with American Idol judge Simon Cowell is “exciting,” Green said his focus will be the stores.

The privately owned retailer reported operating profit gained 13 percent in the year ended August 2009, while same-store sales were flat.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Shannon in London at sshannon4@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net.

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