Singapore-based retailer Robinson & Co has gained the exclusive rights to market and sell the designs of UK fashion firm River Island in Singapore and Malaysia.

A 10,000-sq-ft flagship store will be opened in Singapore's VivoCity at the end of January and a second, which will be 6,800-sq-ft big, will be opened at Raffles City in May.

Meanwhile, Robinson is eyeing two or three Malaysian stores by the end of next year, a spokesman told just-style.

The River Island stores will be own-name ones, he added.

Robinson CEO John Cheston said in a statement: "We are honoured to be an integral part of River Island's expansion into Asia. River Island is very successful in all the countries the brand is in, and we look forward to working together with River Island to make Asia another big success for the brand.

"The addition of River Island brings our portfolio of retail entities to six, which is double what we started with when we entered 2006.

"River Island's brand positioning and product offerings will complement those of our existing retail businesses, and we are confident that the addition of River Island will enable Robinson to further strengthen our foothold in Singapore's and Malaysia's retail markets. This is in line with our growth plans and strategies for Singapore and the region."

River Island managing director Richard Bradbury added: "We are very excited about the potential of the Asian market, the fastest growing economic region in the world.

"When we decided to enter the Asian market, we felt that Singapore would be an excellent springboard to other parts of Asia given the cosmopolitan culture, and we knew that it was imperative that we work with a strong strategic partner that can support our expansion plans in Asia. We are pleased to have found this partner in Robinson."

He concluded: "We believe that our partnership with Robinson will be key in our efforts to develop River Island into a global brand."

River Island sells fashions aimed at 18- to 35-year-olds. Founded 55 years ago, it now has 210 stores in the UK and Ireland and 25 stores across the world.

Robinson's retail entities trade under the brands Robinsons, John Little, Marks & Spencer, Principles, Trucco and River Island.

Robinson and Company, the founding company, started trading in Singapore in 1858.

Other western fashion firms to recently announce the launch of brands or labels into Singapore include Ted Baker, Inditex, Liz Claiborne and Gap.