Benetton buys up 'super outlets' in Italy, Benelux

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ROME - Italian fashion retailer Benetton has bought a total of 15 stores from rival companies in Europe as it looks to dramatically increase the number of "super outlets" it operates.

The company says it paid $11.5 million for 12 locations from Gruppo Coin, an Italian department store chain, in addition to three stores in the Netherlands and Belgium from Peek & Cloppenburg, a holding company that owns Dutch retailer P&C Groep.

The acquisitions are part of a plan announced earlier this year to open 60 new "super outlets", which the company defines as locations of more than 1,000 square meters, by early 2002. Benetton also says it will start to directly manage some locations for the first time, part of a five-year plan to increase sales by 50 percent. Traditionally, local license-holders have operated Benetton locations.

A spokesman for Benetton says the company would extend existing advertising campaigns to cover any markets the new locations opened up, though he declined to provide details on those plans.

Coin, Italy's second leading retailer, says that the 11 stores it sold to Benetton were part of the 167-unit La Standa chain it acquired last year.

Copyright December 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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