The company's contact person is businessman and former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman, who also brought to Israel the Forever 21 fashion brand, which is expected to open its first store in October at the Azrieli Mall in Tel Aviv.
Gillerman told Calcalist that the president of the global brand, Michael Weiss, and the company's CEO Matthew Mollering visited several shopping malls throughout the country, including the Azrieli Mall in Tel Aviv.
"They checked out the local retail market and were very impressed by the quality of the local fashion and with way Israeli women dress. They were also impressed by the traffic in the shopping malls – they said they hadn't seen such crowds in many places."
Express made a strategic decision to enter the Israeli market; however, Express management has yet to determine whether to join a local partner or to enter the market independently.
The company is leaning towards a partnership but has not stipulated that the partner must come from the retail sector. The president and CEO will make a decision in the matter within the next month.
Calcalist has learned that among the prospective partners is Harel Wizel, co-owner of FOX Fashion. Furthermore, Calcalist has learned that one of the owners of Castro fashion chain, Gabi Rotter, was approached and that two other parties which are not from the retail market have expressed their interest in the deal.
Express is looking at opening between 15 and 20 stores in Israel. As oppose to the Forever 21 stores which span over some 2,000 square meters, the size of the Express stores will be 600-800 square meters (6,500-8,600 square feet), a fact that may assist the brand's entrance to Israel as it is easier to find smaller retail spaces in Israel's shopping malls.
Express is a well-know and popular fashion brand in the US with stores in main shopping malls and main commercial streets, among other Manhattan's Fifth Avenue.
The brand's customers are predominantly men and women in their 20s and 30s and its main competitors are Banana Republic and ZARA. The brand offers clothes and accessories at prices that are higher than H&M retail fashion chain.
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