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American Apparel leads US invasion of High Street Ken
Retail Week
John Ryan
May 25, 2007

Ethical t-shirt retailer American apparel aims to open 20 stores in the UK by the end of 2010 - increasing its three-strong portfolio more than six-fold. Three stores are planned to open this year, with Kensington High Street and Brighton both making their debuts in July.

The premises for the 3,300 sq ft Kensington High Street branch are being refitted and will be a "bit more modern, but still retain our minimal aesthetic", according to a spokesman. A location in Glasgow is also under consideration for a store later in the year.

American Apparel opened in the UK in 2005 and has branches in London's Shoreditch, Carnaby Street and Portobello Road. Internationally, it is best known for its t-shirt factory in Los Angeles where migrant workers work under reasonable conditions, according to the retailer.

American Apparel's arrival on Kensington High Street is part of a wave of new tenants setting up shop in the area - the majority being international retailers. Japanese fashion group Uniqlo opened a branch on Kensington High Street this week. The store follows the blueprint that was unveiled two weeks ago at Reading in Berkshire.

US retailer Whole Foods Market is also opening in the street on June 6. Located in the former Barkers department store, the retailer has retained much of the art deco interior detailing in the building and is likely to cause the same excitement as Abercrombie & Fitch's arrival did last March.

Kensington High Street, like Regent Street, has many listed buildings, but retailers have come up with imaginative ways of working within restrictions.