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Billionaire Green Plans 10 New Topshop Stores in US

Monday, 18 Feb 2013 | 4:54 AM ET
Philip Green: Speed to Market More Important Than Ever
Philip Green CEO of Arcadia Group tells CNBC that the squeeze in the retail market means operators have to bring something that the public want to buy.

British fashion mogul Sir Philip Green plans to open 10 more Topshop stores in the U.S. within 2.5 years, after launching its first Californian branch in Los Angeles last week.

"The Los Angeles reaction was much stronger than we thought. We were about 50 percent above our target," Green told CNBC on Sunday, speaking from London Fashion Week.

(Read More: Geek Chic: Google Revamps Topshop Runway)

Topshop, which is part of Green's fashion conglomerate Arcadia Group, also has branches in New York, Chicago and Las Vegas, as well as a partnership with upscale fashion department store Nordstrom.

Despite weak retail numbers for January from the Commerce Department, Green said "shopping has not ended."

"I think what has happened is the market is getting squeezed where the operators do not have the right merchandize or are not a necessity. Hopefully we have got something slightly different, slightly unique."

Green added that speed-to-market is "more important than ever" for fashion retailers.

"Our speed-to-market has always been very powerful and it continues to be that way. I think that is probably our edge, being able to produce very quickly."

Green refused to comment on reports he has bid for up-for-sale Dreams, whose beds he hopes to sell in his BHS department stores.

"Historically, private equity has bought retail businesses and done a reasonably good job with them. Now you read in the papers that mergers and acquisitions (M&A) is back in fashion. We will see," he said.

In December, Green sold a 25 percent stake in Topshop and Topman to LA-based private equity firm Leonard Green, in a deal that valued the high street chain at two billion pounds.

"Fast fashion continues to gain market share, particularly in Europe, and it looks like the U.S. better be prepared to compete with the new entrant," said Stacey Widlitz, the president of SW Retail Advisors, after the sale.

Stocks in major U.S. retailers fell on Friday after Wal-Mart leaked an email in which an executive called its February sales a "total disaster". Macy's, Home Depot and Target traded lower on the news.

- By CNBC's Katy Barnato

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