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ETHAN ALLEN PLANS TO COLONIZE U.K. WITH STORES IN JOINT VENTURE.

DANBURY, Conn.-Ethan Allen Interiors, the American furniture powerhouse named for a Revolutionary War patriot, is hoping to spark a little lifestyle revolution of its own in the mother country.

Ethan Allen plans to open retail stores in the United Kingdom through a joint venture with MFI Furniture Group, one of the United Kingdom's leading home furnishings manufacturers and retailers.

The U.K. showrooms will be called Ethan Allen Home Interior stores and will sell Ethan Allen products. "Most of Ethan Allen's product line will be available," said Kelly Maicon, a company spokeswoman.

The first phase of the plan will include up to five stores of about 10,000 square feet. The first of the stores is expected to open in London by May 2002. Further rollout of U.K. stores could be followed by Ethan Allen stores on the European continent.

"We look forward to working with [MFI] to bring Ethan Allen's reputation of innovative style, quality and value to consumers in the United Kingdom," said Farooq Kathwari, chairman and chief executive officer of Ethan Allen Interiors Inc.

MFI Furniture Group PLC, with sales last year of more than 900 million pounds, operates about 189 "out-of-town" furniture centers and 15 "high-street" stores in the United Kingdom, along with about 116 stores in France.

"We are very happy to have reached an agreement with Ethan Allen, a leader in retailing and brand building, and we look forward to an active and productive association in developing an Ethan Allen retail network in the United Kingdom," said John Hancock, MFI's chief executive officer. "The partnership will allow MFI and Ethan Allen to work together to target the over 1 billion pound premium furniture market in the U.K."

Ethan Allen operates a network of more than 300 stores, mainly in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The company has 18 stores outside of North America, including locations in Egypt and Taiwan. Earlier this year, Ethan Allen said it would open stores in mainland China.
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Comment:ETHAN ALLEN PLANS TO COLONIZE U.K. WITH STORES IN JOINT VENTURE.
Author:Buchanan, Lee
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 22, 2001
Words:332
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